“This must be done: help and accompany more depressed patients to return to their families and society.” Even after I went to a ministry for depressed people, I could still hear the words.
A Christian workshop that helps people with mild to moderate depression recover and returns to daily life is little known. The founder is a Christian expert in psychology and mental health. Deeply convicted by the healing power of Jesus, who proclaims freedom for the prisoners and sets the oppressed free, the Christian is convinced that “helping more depressed patients return to family and society” must be accomplished.
When I visited the studio for the first time, I learned that two patients who went through rehabilitation had jobs. The counselors spend the day and night with them and give them food and a place to sleep. These counselors lead them to read the Bible, sing hymns, learn history, and teach them to recite Chinese poems. In addition, they are trained to take part in exercises such as practicing hung gar, a kind of kung fu in the southern Shaolin style, and shooting arrows together.
An anonymous counselor said that every counselor has been professionally trained, and their faith has been witnessed by everybody. They treat every trainee preciously.
He added that the Christian faith had played a critical role in the operation. People suffer from depression due to a lack of love, so what’s important is that the patients are fully recognized and accepted in communal living. Then their physical, mental, and spiritual health will be gradually restored.
The counselors care for them like parents taking care of children, arranging their daily lives, and engaging them in cooking and chores. They have to keep an eye on how the trainees feel at all times, which makes them emotionally stable. They impart knowledge to them and seek employment opportunities for them. When a trainee gets their salary for the first month, the counselor is happier than them. Brother Y shared that the counselors are excited at every growth and progress in their lives, especially their faith growth.
When I paid a second visit to the workshop, a trainee from the south was absent. Brother Y told me that he moved out to live with his parents in an apartment for some time nearby.
The counselors should guide how their parents get along with their children who are temporarily recovering from depression - “transplanting” the healthy daytime routines they have formed in the workshop to their family life. He stated that some parents ask him how to pray when they see their children praying often. Some parents have become Christians, and they have family worship at home, which helps build a stable, healthy parent-child relationship.
When it comes to their future marriage, Brother Y said that the trainees would move into a bachelor pad when they adapted to work. While they work during the day, they are more exposed to "peer companions” and get premarital counseling in preparation for the future.
Brother Y stressed that he would not lose the heart of being an “elder son” and the consciousness of a “leader” even though he is doing very ordinary things daily.
He encouraged believers not to spend too much time alone in the post-pandemic era. He urged people to participate in group events, exercise more, and pay attention to their mental health.
- Translated by Karen Luo