Mental health issues pose problems in varying degrees of intensity in our society. We are all aware of this in the lives of people we live with day to day or perhaps even in ourselves.
We have come to know several men who - along with serving a prison sentence - have additional struggles and challenges with mental health.
One of these men is Ray*. He was sentenced to “Life 14”. This means that for the rest of his life he will be accountable to the Correctional Services of Canada. At his 14th year in prison, he is eligible to apply for parole and return to living in our society with diminishing levels of supervision. But he will always be accountable to regulations of the National Parole Board of Canada.
In the fall of 2012 Ray began attending my group Bible study in one of the maximum security prisons. Along with the burden of committing a serious crime, it was also evident he had struggles with mental health. The gospel message was not new to him but it was at this time his sinfulness and the love of God for him came into sharp focus. He opened his heart and life and received the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour. This new and regenerating relationship has brought him out of hopelessness, despair, shame, guilt and self-loathing. It has given him inner peace and freedom and the anticipation of a hope-filled future.
As well, Ray knows the Lord has helped him in a practical way by giving him wisdom and strength to make careful diet choices and employ an exercise routine that has allowed him to reduce his level of medication and enable him to move forward and be an over comer.
Ray’s mental health issues are no longer dominant and destructive in his life and to the people around him. He is remorseful of his actions that have caused such loss and deep, ongoing pain in the lives of his victims’ family and friends.
Pray for Ray as he continues his daily walk with the Lord Jesus. He is expecting to transfer to minimum security in the near future where he can begin his reintegration into society.
Pray for Ray*, Jeff*, Tom*, Normand*. These are only a few of the men who struggle with varying degrees of mental health issues. Corrections has both a medium and maximum security unit that is specific to the treatment of inmates with moderate and severe mental health issues. Often, unfortunately, the way of managing this is to heavily medicate them which causes lethargy, dullness and lack of motivation for life. *names have been changed
Pray for us as we seek to encourage, counsel, and support men with mental health issues. We need God’s wisdom to know how to engage within these complex scenarios.
As well pray for each encounter we have with the men in Bible studies, chapel services and one on one visits that each presentation of the gospel would be clear and the Lord would enable us to faithfully disciple and encourage the many Christian inmates.
Thank you for your prayers for us! We would love to hear from you as well.
Robert and Susan