Posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, became recognized as an official mental health disorder in 1980. The disease itself has presented itself throughout history in various situations. For instance, soldiers returning from World War 1 had “shell shock” after experiencing fear and panic during the war. At that time though, the symptoms and dangers of the disorder were not properly clinically defined. Unfortunately, WW1 was not the end of wars. As more warfare continued when new conflicts arose, the mental stability of those returning from duty became more of an epidemic for our veterans. PTSD is now a widely known mental illness that affects returning soldiers, catastrophe survivors, rape and other violent crime victims, and others. There are more treatment options available now and focus on healing for those who suffer from posttraumatic stress; however, its general acceptance still comes with unfortunate stigmas, and sufferers often feel ostracized. There has been an opportunity for community outreach to bridge the gap between treatment and adjusting to society.
Grace Independent Baptist Church in Ocean Springs have recognized this gap and looked for ways to help. They recently hosted a conference with a national movement founded by Dr. Douglas Carragher called Wounded Spirits: A Biblical Approach to Dealing with the Effects of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Pastor’s wife, Monessa Perkins, this initial conference was more of a learning experience for the staff and congregation. People have PTSD for many reasons, so it is essential to recognize and acknowledge where their trauma stems from and what causes them to feel anxious, stressed, or depressed. She felt excited after the conference because she feels there is a need in our community for a safe and accepting place for those deeply affected by trauma. Regardless of the religious background of someone who has PTSD, the church hopes to provide fellowship and guidance by using scripture to show that traumatic suffering has been a part of our existence.
Using lessons from the Bible, they hope to show how through faith and love (and treatment) a person who has PTSD does not have to suffer alone. The church plans to hold more seminars and conferences on the faith-based approach to treating PTSD in the future.
For more information regarding Grace Independent Baptist Church, you can visit their website at https://graceibc.org/ and learn more about Wounded Spirits you can https://woundedspirits.com/. If you are suffering from a past traumatic event are currently having suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255. You are loved and important to us all.