There is no time in history and no place in the world where so many people have understood themselves to be suffering from mental health problems. There is also virtually no time and no place in the world where people who are suffering have been so readily ostracized.
In Not Quite Fine, author Carlene Hill Byron tackles the mounting dilemmas that pastors and churches face around mental health. Medicines and therapies have their roles in supporting those who live with mental health problems or mental illness. But God’s own body as the church is intended to be our greatest support in this world. How can the church step up for such a time as this? How can the body of Christ become a healing community for its members in pain—a place where the weary find strength for the journey, a place where those who mourn are raised up as rebuilders of the cities left in ruins? Drawing on her own history of mental health problems and her experience as a teacher and lay counselor, Byron offers words of hope for those who struggle as well as practical insights to equip congregations to better support those who are suffering in their midst.
Carlene Hill Byron is a fundraiser and communicator for nonprofits that serve people with disabilities and other profound life challenges. The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, she is a spiritual wellness volunteer in the MaineHealth hospital system and active in her Lutheran church. She has been medically treated for depression or bipolar disorder since the age of 19, with doctors attempting more than 20 different medications to contain her symptoms. Find her online on The Mighty, Mad in America, The Redbud Post, and The Church and Mental Illness.
“When I was asked to write an endorsement for a book about mental health for Christians, I admit I was a little nervous. But within a few pages, author Carlene Hill Byron put my fears to rest. With humor, empathy, and determination, Byron presents her own struggles and experiences, along with those of others, and gives practical guidance on how to not only support those with mental illness but also recognize the unique gifts that they bring to Christian community. Not Quite Fine should be required reading for pastors and all churchgoers.”
"In this much-needed book, Carlene Hill Byron gets to the roots of the problem and offers a hopeful vision for the church to take up the mantle of love by stepping into difficult places to come alongside those who are struggling. Not Quite Fine is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to transform the church into a place known for the kind of love and support we all so desperately need.”
~Harold G. Koenig
“I will keep this book readily available for the rest of my life—for my mental health and the mental health of others! Carlene Hill Byron writes with enticing beauty supported with facts and evidence. You will get value from reading it for minutes or hours. The text is full of wisdom for anyone who cares for or about those who struggle."
“Carlene Hill Byron brings the skill of an educator, the passion of an advocate, and the grounded wisdom of someone who lives with mental illness to offer a wise, poignant, and immensely practical guide to all who seek to ameliorate the mental health crisis that surrounds us."
“Not Quite Fine is timely and practical. It informs the reader with an engaging answer to the question, Where is it safe to suffer? It challenged me to think through mental health issues, and it is a compelling book for friends and other loved ones."
“Carlene Hill Byron wants the church to know there are a whole lot of us sitting in the pews dealing with mental health challenges. Her warmth, insight, and call to mature faithfulness will encourage every one of us to be more fully present in community, just as we are, even when we’re not quite fine.”