It was a privilege to be part of See, Hear, Love. Brett, Carla, Merry and Melinda are so inspiring! I have walked alongside people experiencing mental health challenges for more than 30 years as a nurse and a family member. I never get tired of hearing how people engage in their own recovery. I never get tired of hearing how people overcome their challenges; that they do not let illness, disadvantage or disability define them. I am always inspired by people who proclaim their love of God and declare how His love supports them as they walk forward on their own recovery journeys.
It is a unique thing to be asked every now and then to consider professional experience through the lens of faith. When I get to do this I am always struck by two things: the healing power of strong relationships and that Jesus calls us to be in community. It’s a perfect call for Bell Let’s Talk Day. Let’s find time to sit down with people and be prepared to listen. As we listen, be ready to be changed by what you hear and be willing to offer yourself. As I heard today, so many people are in control of their health and have learned how to manage aspects of their illness; often the role of the listener is to simply affirm that the person telling their story may actually be resilient and strong. Be the learner: In every encounter I have ever had with people, it was in responding to the person, not an illness that transformed that individual and myself. The image of God is present in all of us, find the time to seek Him in your neighbor and affirm that they are loved.
Steven Rolfe is the director of Mental Health Services at Indwell; a Christian charity that creates affordable housing communities that support people seeking health, wellness and belonging.