Reflections on the Meaning of Mental Integrity



Wipf & Stock Publishers, Resource Publications, Published December 7, 2021

Reflections on the Meaning of Mental Integrity: Recovery from Serious Mental Illness

by Marcia A. Murphy            Purchase Here


In the midst of devastating mental illness, the author hears from God. Her resulting faith points her towards recovery. She tells us what steps she took, and that others must take, to achieve mental health. Hers is a unique and powerful voice. Patients and doctors both should listen.

—Russell Noyes Jr., MD, Emeritus Professor, Psychiatry Department, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa 

In an impactful narrative, Marcia Murphy writes with the raw, first-person discernment of someone recovering from serious mental illness. Her prose highlights the interacting forces influencing mental health -– physical, psychological, social, and faith-based. Her courage in describing her own recovery and the importance of human interaction, community, prayer, and the arts can provide examples for health care workers and religious communities looking to serve alongside those striving to recover from mental illness.

Cecilia M. Redmond Norris, MD

How is mental integrity (state of being complete, whole) achieved in light of serious mental illness? The author’s intent is that this work will be a source of insight and healing for many and that it will equip the church, conjoined with the medical/scientific field of psychiatry, to do a better job of enabling people living with mental illness to access the resources they need for becoming whole. The author shares some of her personal story of experience with serious mental illness, i.e., it’s genesis and subsequent recovery process which includes finding a relationship with God, involvement in a Christian community, and her ministry work as an advocate for the mentally ill.
For one section of the book, the process of gathering information from a limited amount of sources on an international level included responses from former and current missionaries, professors, and medical mission workers. Certain culturally indigenous interpretations of psychiatric phenomena are considered, as well as how these cultures tackle the problem within familial and societal contexts. It is beyond the scope of this work to explore every culture on the planet.
The author points to the need to integrate spiritual and medical/scientific modalities to increase recovery outcomes and to improve the quality of life for the ill. A great challenge in the international settings of developing countries is not only the socioeconomic difficulties including lack of resources which hinder access to psychiatric care and treatments; but the complex systemic corruptions in structures of government that intercept and/or block desperately needed aid intended for the populace.
This written work is to encourage a multifaceted approach to serious mental illness and health definitions through an integration of diverse perspectives which include the fields of Western psychiatry/science, psychology, religion, and other cultural views from outside of the United States. All can make valid contributions given their various accomplishments and traditions. I believe there is much we can learn from one another. Through narrative and subsequent interpretation this book will enable those involved with the mentally ill to reconsider the resources they need to support the ill, hopefully leading to better holistic treatments and successful outcomes. And for those who struggle with mental health issues, perhaps this work can be a healing influence and support, encouraging hope for recovery.