Missionary Kids struggle with mental health problems, a lot. This is unfortunate because there is so much stigma attached to mental illnesses in Christian circles. I have even been told by missionaries that my mental illness is because I am demon possessed or have upset God in someway. Whilst most people are not this ignorant, the ‘mission field’ is rife with misunderstandings.
Given that both overseas workers and TCK’s struggle with mental illnesses more than the global average, we should be talking about this more. One of the things that helped me out of my toughest period in life was talking to an older MK named John who was able to share his own experiences of mental illness with me.
We need to make mental illnesses a regular part of the dialogue in mission circles, and the wider Christian faith. Please share this with your own story. The only way in which we can normalise mental illnesses is by acknowledging how widespread and human they are. If you agree with this, then please share this with others or intentionally bring up the topic.
Believe me, this is not the type of thing you want to ignore until you have to deal with the consequences, the stakes are far too high. Whether it is a case of a panic attack or suicide, this is not something we should take lightly. The more we talk about it preemptively the safer we will be.
Here are a few things I have written on my experience with mental illness as an MK.
Here is an article that I wrote on mental illnesses and missions for A Life Overseas
Below is an article I wrote for an organisation called TCK training sharing my struggle with depression as an MK.
Really wish i had some more recent info, but currently don’t have access to it. will update once I find it. Let me know if you have more recent stuff.
TCK’s are also more likely to have a mental health problem, but the exact numbers are notoriously difficult to pin down. I am happy to discuss this more, get in touch!