I am deeply moved by Len Vander Zee’s article “Grace in a Locked Ward” and so grateful for his courage in sharing the story. The more we can share stories like this, the more we reduce the stigma associated with mental health, and the more we can act as Christ-followers with one another. Len is leading the way and I commend him for it. I have at least a couple of responses to Len’s story. The first is a sense of wonder and joy that the treatment appears to have been effective – or, at least, that his depression and anxiety symptoms disappeared and have not returned.
Mental health needs seem to be mushrooming all around us. Very soon depression will be the leading cause of disability in the Western world. Death by suicide is far too prevalent. The increase in crippling anxiety issues, especially among young people, is alarming. In a compelling recent report, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer estimates that one in three Canadians over the age of 15 has experienced some form of domestic violence. That’s a staggering nine million people.
These statistics only begin to scratch the surface. And they don’t speak to the deep anguish and pain that people who experience mental health distress, and their loves ones, are going through, often all too silently.