What I enjoy most about my studies at Liberty University is the opportunity to fully flesh out and express my spiritual worldview in conjunction with practical realities and social issues. Majoring in Government – Politics and Policy, has challenged me to explore real solutions to the everyday problems that manifest in the streets and in our homes. For one of my classes, Social Problems, I was challenged to write a research paper on a particular social problem of interest. I chose the social problem of mental illness.
Mental illness is a commonly controversial topic. From conspiracy theories of doctors acting in collusion with pharmaceutical companies to social communities flat out seeing mental illness as a stigma of weakness, it is hard to find common ground on the issue that will lead to proactive and productive movements to bring the social problem under control. My intent with this paper was to go into the darkness of the mentally ill world, find sources of the ailment, and explore solutions. In my paper, I explored the spiritual and practical sources of mental illness including demonic possession, traumatic childhood experiences, and children in the care of adults suffering from substance abuse. Researched treatments include exorcism, spiritual counseling, and professional medical treatment. Also researched was the implementation of public programs — mainly conducted in European countries — that seek to reduce the effects of mental illness through changing the social stigma — the collective consciousness of mental illness.
What I learned from this assignment was the effort by religious communities, sociologists, and psychologists when taking on the social problem of mental illness. While Pentecostal Christians seek to keep their diagnoses and treatments within the church, Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams incorporate more worldly understanding of the sources of mental illness in balance with spiritual influences, suggesting professional medical treatment as an option when appropriate. Sociologists and psychologists are working with marketing groups to launch campaigns that change the stigma of mental illness and promote a new collective mindset based on “social desirability”, which influences a socially acceptable form of human decency when it comes to mental illness.
As this paper will show, when we change the collective consciousness about the various social problems of the world, from mental illness to human trafficking, we will reduce the stigma of many social problems. This reduction of stigma will lead to the empowerment of the suffering, giving them the space and courage to seek treatment and healing. Everything in life starts with the mind, and solving the many social problems of today will depend upon how we can influence the collective consciousness of mankind.
You can download and read the PDF version of this paper here. The assignment required incorporation of scripture and a biblical worldview, but my personal, spiritual beliefs transcend basic, literal biblical interpretation by far. For anyone who is curious, I received 100% credit/grade on this work.