Religion and Mental Health

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Discussion by: jpo2709

Do not know if anyone has had any similar experience, but something that happened to me regarding religion might need more disscussion or investigation.

It centres on my experience when i was going through one of my bad ' Episodes ' of extreme pychosis. This would involve voices in my head telling me to mutalate my body, and do some other extreme things. Around this time my Familly were involed with a religious group, and they had effectively disowned me because of what i was doing while going through these episodes.

One day i was stopped in the street by a ' Church Leader ', who said that my Mother had shown her a photo of me and that i was having problems. She continued to say that i was Possessed by a Demonic force or even by the Devil himself. and there were steps that they needed to carry out to ' cure ' me.

This included an Exorcism at the church, i also had to embrace God and go through a baptism. They also said my Doctors were the Devils servants who were keeping me possessed so i could do the devil's work. So she advised me to come off all my medication.

I refused and explained that i have no religion but that of Logic, and Logic tells me that religion is not Logical. But this did not stop complete strangers from the church stopping me on the street every day, and this went on for a year.

My only reason for bringing this up is that around the same time, someone with depression i knew had the same treatment and accepted there help. Needless to say they commited suicide a few months later. So just wondering if anyone has had the same experience.

33 COMMENTS

  1. It occurs with depressing frequency that parents especially refuse conventional medical treatment on their childs behalf courtesy of religious imperative resulting in death of the latter although in my experience this does not often involve (but by no means precludes) mental illness. Some years back here in New Zealand a couple were prosecuted when they refused, on religious grounds to submit their son to medical treatment, he died for want of a vitamin B12 injection. I am sure a quick glance at Dr Google will reveal many more instances.

  2. My own experience with depression went through a religious phase, during which yeah, I rode a confirmation bias high for a while as I saw ways that God was allegedly helping me. Of course, luck took its course, and I had a bad run where it was clear that God just hated me and wanted me to suffer.

    (Michael Shermer points out how we are inclined to give events agency, since the instinct to sense patterns from background-noise came from our need to identify and escape predators, which explains a lot of why I’m compelled to think the universe has turned against me when it’s just a bad day.)

    It took me a while before I realized that my ministers telling me that I just wasn’t praying hard enough was a load of bullshit.

    I still see a similar thing often enough when I council peers who are depressed. And I need to remind them that what they are feeling is temporary, and clouds from the mind both memories of good times, and hope for better times ahead. And this isn’t because of divine intervention, but because of the nature of the illness. Generally the tapes are the same: the things that trigger us activate the same processes and we feel terrible for all the same reasons every time. (Of course, sometimes we have legitimate cause to feel bad, say if a loved one recently died, or we’re losing our place to live, but this is about real-world distress.)

    Also, there’s some basic stuff one can do: Get enough food. Get adequate sleep. Be active some. Be social some. (And for us introverts, be alone some). Alcoholics Anonymous has a fun mnemonic, HALT: Hungry; Angry; Lonely; Tired.

    So yeah, sometimes I end up deprogramming someone’s training to depend on Jesus, because sometimes Jesus doesn’t follow through, and we have to depend on ourselves or each other.

  3. It also doesn’t help that mental illnesses are so poorly understood by the general population, let alone the religious community. People don’t tend to realise that they require just as much attention and treatment as any other illness, and are not the fault of the person suffering them, they can’t just “get over it”. Depression is seen as a ‘phase’ someone’s just going through, OCD is just someone being fussy, someone with psychosis is just “messed up in the head”.

    It can be pretty easy to look outside of your curch community and see that cancer isn’t a curse from the devil and that you can’t ward off malaria with a crucifix. But try searching for mental illnesses and you may not find much difference in the attitudes between the pious and the general population.

    Raising awareness for these things is something we all have to try and do, it’s not just an obstacle for the church.

  4. I don’t know where you are, but in parts of Africa you’d probably end up murdered as a witch.

    Clearly your problems are mainstream mental health issues, and whilst I am no doctor I am sure you are going to have more success with modern medicine than you are with exorcists. Because basically they assume (a) that they are competent exorcists who know exactly what to do, to produce (b) a miracle cure: God will directly intervene to take away your demons in a manner than no human being is capable of achieving.

    Further, if (as seems extremely likely) their cure fails, this will be your fault. You didn’t pray enough. You lack faith. So God has turned his back on you and decided you are not worth saving. So now as well as feeling mentally ill, you also feel worthless, rejected and guilty. A prefect Petrie dish to incubate suicidal thoughts.

    Stick to mainstream medicine. These people are charlatans and quacks.

  5. @OP She continued to say that i was Possessed by a Demonic force or even by the Devil himself. and there were steps that they needed to carry out to ‘ cure ‘ me.

    This included an Exorcism at the church, i also had to embrace God and go through a baptism. They also said my Doctors were the Devils servants who were keeping me possessed so i could do the devil’s work. So she advised me to come off all my medication.

    It is standard procedure for the “Dunning-Kruger” deluded, to maintain that they know better than science professionals, and then make up some derogatory drivel about main-stream scientists or medics.
    They recycle their ignorant stupidity within their closed groups reinforcing each others’ delusions.
    Repeated assertion of these views at other people, and denying rational answers, is part of their mental maintenance of their perverted views.
    Some of them are probably more in need of your medication than you are!

    • In reply to #5 by Alan4discussion:

      @OP She continued to say that i was Possessed by a Demonic force or even by the Devil himself. and there were steps that they needed to carry out to ‘ cure ‘ me.

      This included an Exorcism at the church, i also had to embrace God and go through a baptism. They also said my Doctors were the Devils se…

      Dunning-Kruger? Not that old chestnut? Like ADHD, Asperger’s, etc, none of these things has any real diagnostic stability.

      • In reply to #28 by Nemesis:

        In reply to #5 by Alan4discussion:
        Dunning-Kruger? Not that old chestnut? ……. ….. none of these things has any real diagnostic stability.

        I would have thought that the Dunning-Kruger effect was almost so self evident that the diagnosis was obvious from the claims of the deluded!

        Not that old chestnut?

        Yep! Its been around a long time! Even Darwin recognised the false confidence of ignorance in the ignorant!

  6. Hi,

    Psychosis is unfortunately a result of a brain that is not functioning properly. If a person has the rational to separate the experience from the delusion that’s great insight. Basically as an effort to ‘explain’ what a person is absorbing through their senses and the sensations going on in their body , it can be interpreted as anything. Anything at all. The devil and demons and aliens and angels.

    What of course is all the more distressing if you have ‘normal’ people reinforcing that delusion.

    I can only estimate that a contributing factor in the suicide of this person , was the idea that he/she was intrinsically weak and whose sense of self was based on other persons ramblings and pronouncements on life. Unfortunately some of these other people are also absorbed in delusion. Their delusion is not of psychiatric relevance, agreed , they can probably function in society fine. But they hold a belief that is not even rational to assume considering what we now know about natural history , science and medicine.

    Mental illness gives us an insight into religion and spirituality , their strongest proponents claim revelation , joy , awakening , soulfulness , yet there are experiences and emotions that are at the other end of the spectrum. We can only rationally conclude that biological , flesh , blood , chemicals , hormones etc are responsible. The alternative is to enter the realm of delusion.

  7. I have a wide range of professionals who deal with my case, and am watched over at a distance by different services. One of there suggestions was to go on a mental health forum so i could speak to others in the same situation. But i found alot have a religious based view about there problems. Thats why i decided to come here to get a better understanding from people who come across more Logical.

    I think that Religion plays a big part in how bad somebosy can get, if you cannot explain why these things happen then it is alot easier to put them down to external forces. I was speaking to people with similar problems and they were convinced it was down to Monsters or the Devil. Trying to explain to them that the problem is deep seated in your brain, and it is the way your brain processes the infomation presented to it.

    My GP came up with the idea based on the study’s of professionals such as Richard Dawkins and told me to forget Religion and turn to Logic. And it is working, whatever i see and hear i know that it is my Mind and not something else. And have become alot ,more stable. Instead of panicking when i start to see Black figures telling me to kill myself, i often sit and think about how messed up my brain works!. But i think religion is deep seated in our brains hard drive from when we are young, so thats probably why people with a mental illness tend to come up with God or the devil as an excuse.

    But now i have studied it more and come up with ways to handle my personality changes and psychosis etc all through logical thinking i am alot better. But trying to help others is impossible because of the religious barrier.

    • In reply to #7 by jpo2709:

      Thats why i decided to come here to get a better understanding from people who come across more Logical.

      I used to work in mental health and I have some personal experiences with it. One of my significant others suffered from bipolar disorder. Not the way every other person these days says they are “bipolar” and ends up on Prozac, she had severe bouts of suicidal depression that made it impossible for her to function.

      IMO you aren’t going to find any oasis of reason here. Most of the people that post are as irrational as theists. They just hate theists the way a fundamentalist Christian hates atheists. They just flip it that’s all but the mind set is still the same: “my group good their group bad” (there is often a grunt or a joke about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny mixed in)

      I think reaching out is a good step and I can empathize with you about the problems you’ve had with mental health workers. I’ve seen a shrink myself and some of them have been awful, worse than not seeing anyone at all. But some of them have been great. I think mental health workers tend to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of them never should have gone in the field to begin with. They get burned out quickly with all the misery they have to deal with. 20% though have a gift for it. They are good at their job and they somehow manage to keep being human and caring. IMO that is the first hard thing someone needs to do when finding a mental health worker, remember they work for you and if they aren’t helping you fire them and find a new one and keep doing it until you find someone you can work with.

      It sounds like you were raised in an area where there was a lot of fundamentalism so you’ve had experience with the worst aspects of religion. But not every religious person is like that and the people here who think that all religious people are automatically evil or stupid are just being bigots. I’ve been an atheists since I was around 12 years old BTW (and that was a long time ago).

        • In reply to #26 by OHooligan:

          In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

          the people here who think that all religious people are automatically evil or stupid are just being bigots.

          Well said, Red Dog.

          There are many religious people who are neither stupid nor evil, but there are times when religion seems to make good people do bad things (note 1). So maybe the doctor denying his own training to assert demonic forces in mental illness, and quite possibly many of the believers who gave such bad advice as recounted here, were doing so through having been misguided rather than being knowingly wicked. And indeed both atheists or theists can make mistakes. So maybe it’s better to avoid anger against the people giving such unhelpful advice themselves – understandable though such anger is. Rather, perhaps see the misguided and misguiding religious as victims themselves, in their own way, albeit that they seem outwardly to be in positions of power and not suffering from illness.

          To the advice to accept mainstream treatments for mental illness, I’d add that this of course includes many useful forms of psychological therapy – though (as with medication) not everyone is helped by the same treatments as others, and, again there are some therapies that are touted as useful but are really no better than sugar pills and some can be harmful.

          (1) I suspect many here will have read this in Dawkins but I recall he was quoting someone else: Wikipedia reminded me it was from the physicist Steven Weinburg:

          “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion”

          [I'd add there are also other ways besides religion for people to do evil - e.g., the 'social Darwinism' that has been misused for racist ends]

        • In reply to #26 by OHooligan:

          In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

          the people here who think that all religious people are automatically evil or stupid are just being bigots.

          Well said, Red Dog.

          The gospels have the instruction (several places) that only a fool denies God so what goes around is coming around. The Moromon instruction manuals for Sunday school require the principle that only fools deny God and you don’t want to be a fool to be taught to five year olds.

          Perhaps our bigotry is a form of ‘religious diffusion’ – using religious thought procsses out of context…

    • Just to echo views already expressed and that is the idea that any single person has the all encompassing method on how to live life , that is something I disagree with also. People have varying degrees of aptitude and have different views , motivations and perspectives and nobody is the absolute bringer of knowledge and values.

      edit

      absolute bringer of knowledge and values.

      I’m sure philosophers , empiricists , rationalists would have something to say about this. Shakey ground.
      None the less I offer the sentiment :)
      In reply to #7 by jpo2709:

      I have a wide range of professionals who deal with my case, and am watched over at a distance by different services. One of there suggestions was to go on a mental health forum so i could speak to others in the same situation. But i found alot have a religious based view about there problems. Thats…

    • In reply to #7 by jpo2709:

      My GP came up with the idea based on the study’s of professionals such as Richard Dawkins and told me to forget Religion and turn to Logic. And it is working…

      Welcome. There appear to be many rational, intelligent and sympathetic folks reading and responding on this forum. I hope you find them helpful, I’m sure they’re willing. Thank you also for sharing your situation with us, and congratulations on managing to evade the religious predators who target People With Problems, seeing them as easy meat I suppose.

      Mental health issues are often hard to comprehend by those lucky enough to be free of them, so any insights you can post will, I’m sure, be welcome too.

  8. For me depression and Christian belief created a very bad dynamic. I’d feel like I just didn’t have it in me to follow God, which is an absolute disaster if you still believe in him. I didn’t know if he’d abandoned me, or I was backsliding, or what. It added a lot more distress to the mix. Then at the end I’d “repent” and feel great (because the episode had ended) and conclude that I had felt terrible because I was backsliding!

    I can see how this sort of exorcism “treatment” could drive you to suicide. It’s inevitable failure to remove the “demons” would add a fair whack of blame and hopelessness to your troubles.

    It’s very hard to know what to make of these unusual experiences at the time. I’ve had some funky experiences that seem to be due to focal seizures (look up temporal lobe epilepsy to see what I mean). I once “met” the “devil”! That confused the hell out of me.

    Naturally, we try and fit these experiences into what we know about the world. If you have a religious mindset that means angels, demons, and the talking dead. Besides, we want it to be anything but a mental illness! Who wants that stigma?

    I think jpo2709 has struck on it. Only when you have a good understanding of reality and the condition can you judge these experiences. Education about mental health is really important here. I find most believers do understand that there’s a difference between possession and mental illness. The problem is that they don’t know what the signs of mental illnesses are.

    People often imply “religion is a mental illness.” I strongly disagree, but it is interesting to see the interaction. “Madness” helped get me into religion with a bout of hyper-religiosity, but it also got me out of it by forcing me through an existential crisis every other week. I wouldn’t be an atheist if I was not “crazy”! Food for thought…

  9. There was a doctor in my parents’ church who would tell people that mental illness was really demonic possession. This was 10 years ago, but it still really bothers me. You’d think somebody who had been through medical school would know better.

    I also had a friend struggle with bipolar disorder. She was the sort of person who would spend hours a day reading her Bible and praying, but was told that her symptom of depression was the result of having a poor relationship with God, which was devastating to her. I, along with somebody else who had left the church, were the only ones who recommended that she see someone for treatment. Unfortunately, she only got a diagnosis after becoming completely psychotic. She does attribute a lot of her symptoms to God talking to her still, and I’m quite worried for her, but she won’t have anything to do with me anymore.

    I don’t think this is a problem that lies solely within religion, however. Mental illness seems poorly understood by the general public, and people tend to have a strong aversion to those who suffer from it, and blame them for their symptoms. I do hope that the loss of Rick Warren’s son made more people sympathetic to people who are struggling, and I wish more well-known people would talk about their own struggles and put a face on the illness.

    • In reply to #11 by Kim Probable:

      There was a doctor in my parents’ church who would tell people that mental illness was really demonic possession.

      Yes, that really is disgusting. Someone like that should lose their license to practice medicine.

      She does attribute a lot of her symptoms to God talking to her still, and I’m quite worried for her, but she won’t have anything to do with me anymore..

      Its wrong for me to make a snap diagnosis so feel free to tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about but IMO it sounds like she might be schizophrenic rather than bipolar. Diagnosing mental illness is inexact to say the least but one of the few symptoms that really correlates strongly with a specific disease is hearing voices and schizophrenia. I got to be friends with some schizophrenics when I worked at a psych hospital and when they opened up about their voices it was really interesting. In their rational minds they knew the voices were symptoms of their illness. But when they talked about them and started to let down their defenses it was clear that they felt about the voices as if they were conscious agents with a will of their own, friends (or critics in some cases) with personalities all their own.

      • In reply to #12 by Red Dog:

        Diagnosing mental illness is inexact to say the least but one of the few symptoms that really correlates strongly with a specific disease is hearing voices and schizophrenia.

        It seems like that to me, too. I only get information from reading her blog, but I know she has been hospitalized and is undergoing therapy. (It seemed she recently graduated to renting a room of her own just a few months ago.)

        She just mentioned the voices for the first time in April, and it may be that she hasn’t mentioned it to a professional, since she’s interpreting it in the context of religion. She also says spirits talk to her (though God wants her to ignore them) and she’s very insistent that the voices aren’t like the voices that “crazy” people hear.

        I’ve tried making some gentle comments on her blog anonymously, but she’s convinced that God is taking care of her and is very dismissive of anything that counters her beliefs. I hope she has some family members reading it.

      • Not neccesarily Red Dog. Bi polar 1 patients hear voices and are psychotically effected as in schizophrenia
        In reply to #12 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #11 by Kim Probable:

        There was a doctor in my parents’ church who would tell people that mental illness was really demonic possession.

        Yes, that really is disgusting. Someone like that should lose their license to practice medicine.

        She does attribute a lot of her symptoms to God talk…

        • In reply to #14 by Pauly01:

          Not neccesarily Red Dog. Bi polar 1 patients here voices and are psychotically effected as in schizophrenia

          I had to Google biploar 1 because I hadn’t even heard that so I’m not claiming to be an expert on this at all. But from what I found with a quick search it seems that Bipolar 1 is the most extreme form of bipolar and can be associated with manic episodes (which is classic bipolar) and even in some cases with hallucinations (which is not). Anyway, I take your point, its definitely possible for a bipolar patient to hear voices, I’m just saying its far more common to have that symptom with schizophrenia.

    • I really hope that you are joking. He doesn’t need God; he needs professional medical treatment and advice. Modern science cures people, not rituals like exorcisms and other superstitions. In reply to #17 by ericblake664:

      Don’t give up! Keep seaching for God.

  10. I can empathize with your situation, jpo2709. I vividly remember contemplating suicide as early as 5th grade and have variably suffered from depression since then. In my teen years, my depression became more pronounced and severe. My mother, being the pious woman that she was, perceived my condition from a religious perspective. She told me that I needed “God” and that my depression was the result of my “sin.” I wasn’t nearly as ignorant as her on the subject of mental illness, but I couldn’t help but feel that she was right. Unfortunately, she did nothing practical to help me, and her constant denigration did nothing but exacerbate my depression. Whatever you do, do not listen to those ignoramuses who tell you to stop taking your medication or to receive an “exorcism.” Your illness is not the result of “possession,” “the Devil,” “demons,” or anything else that is religious or supernatural. Your illness is the result of brain chemistry. Listen to licensed medical practitioners. If the medication helps control your symptoms, do not stop taking it unless your doctor/psychiatrist advises you to. Although they may have your best interests at heart, those people will not help you. In fact, they may even cause you more harm. Keep thinking logically. I wish you the best.

  11. Hearing voices is a common symptom of schizophrenia. I read an interesting article on the BBC News website that described a new treatment for people who hear voices. The patient is asked to visualise and describe the character behind his/her voice(s) and then an “avatar” is created on a computer in an attempt to mimic that character. The patient then engages in conversation with the avatar (acted out by a real person using a voice changer and a computer generated image) so that he or she can be helped to take control of the relationship.

    The condition of hearing voices probably predates its diagnosis by millennia and so it is not surprising that people turned to religion and superstition in an attempt to understand it. Modern medicine has made great strides in the treatment of various mental health problems with dramatic improvements in the available medication and therapy over the last few decades.

    One of the problems with some antipsychotic medications is that they make the patient feel sedated and stopping the medication can lead to a feeling of euphoria and wellbeing. Unfortunately this feeling is misleading and psychosis will probably follow soon after.

    Religion can have a powerful (and probably negative) effect on a person made vulnerable by mental health problems, and it is a pity that such hocus pocus commands such respect and protection in this day and age.

    • Yeah read about this avatar thing also, can’t see its efficacy but I haven’t done the research. The treatment of mental illness has a long way to go. BTW I think this should be a government priority instead of private sector R&D. Private companies unfortunately are still wedded to dopamine blockade. There is some interesting research being done regarding gene therapy at the moment. Hopefully we will see at least some of the symptoms tackled through gene regulation or correct gene expression. A solution without any side effects. Hope is alive and well , but government need to take control , no point for example if JFK outsourced putting a man on the moon to corporation X. This is one of the biggest issues facing human civilisation. All the lost money on paying disability and health care , all the lost taxes , all the general societal damage these conditions causes , not to talk of the trauma endured by the afflicted , their friends and family. They say 25% of the american population has a mental ill health condition. schizophrenia , bipolar , autisim , clinical depression, ADHD , chronic anxiety , epilepsy and all the behavioural conditions , many having psychiatric overlap and underpinning. Yet the companies that are doing the research are largely interested in branding , this should be seen as a human endeavour more important to space exploration. How about brain exploration?

      In reply to #21 by hemidemisemigod:

      Hearing voices is a common symptom of schizophrenia. I read an interesting article on the BBC News website that described a new treatment for people who hear voices. The patient is asked to visualise and describe the character behind his/her voice(s) and then an “avatar” is created on a computer in…

  12. I have personal knowledge of three Christians with mental problems who ended up committing suicide. I believe that the pressure to deal with those problems by relying solely on “faith” is just too much for them to bear. I have Christian friends who are very opposed to psychology and medication for mental illness. They have a relative who is a lesbian and has also had some mental issues. That is a double whammy for her. Not only is she “sinning against god” by being a lesbian, but she also is dealing with “demonic possession”. They have spent the past 12 years trying to make her “normal”, and the result has been that she constantly goes back and forth between attending church, saying that she feels better, and having random relationships with people who use her, which turns her into a mess because she judges herself for not living up to god’s expectations. When you are surrounded by nothing but people who keep telling you that you are not faithful in your commitment to god, you don’t have a lot of alternatives. In Rick Warren’s case, can you imagine what that poor son of his had to endure, with everybody praying for him and with him and feeding him all the religious lingo that made him feel guilty about being the wayward son of a man of god? He had no place to turn. Maybe we need 800-numbers that Christians can call when they feel like they are losing their religion because they are starting to see the insanity of it all.

  13. They also said my Doctors were the Devils servants who were keeping me possessed so i could do the devil’s work. So she advised me to come off all my medication.

    Hi jpo2709,

    This is so very dangerous, completely unethical, and typical of a cult mentality i.e. control and manipulation.

    If you are currently taking medication prescribed to you by a mental health professional, keep doing so unless otherwise advised by the same professional – or equivalent. A second opinion is always worthwhile but certainly not one give by a “Church leader”.

    If these people try such tactics again, I would have no hesitation in calling your local police citing harassment.

  14. Yeah, I have had a similar experience, though not that severe. Strange thing is, I had identified myself as an atheist since early teens, and while my parents are Christian, they are far from the “religious” type…generally religion wasn’t a concern of mine most of the time, until about 2-3 years ago, when I had an episode that lasted a few months and could be considered a psychotic episode. I didn’t hear voices or had visual hallucinations or any of the sort, but for some reason, slowly, the thought that some “divine” power sent me “messages” that I could decipher creeped in my brain. Mind you, I wasn’t seeing anything that wasn’t there, I was just interpreting everyday and natural occurences as “signs”. I was in kind of a fevered “high” at that time, thinking I was somehow special, that I had discovered some “truth” that was hidden, etc etc. Some members here might remember that when I first joined I argued from the POV of a christian theist, and with quite strong conviction, well now you know the reason :) I didn’t actually do anything weird though, I kept these thoughts to myself, so not even my psychiatrist(who treated me for OCD/depression) didn’t know what was happening until I confided it to him, some time after the episode ended and I came back to “normal”.

    To be honest, I am to this day a little embarassed on how I lost control of my mind like that, but eh, I just hope it doesn’t happen again and it was an one-off thing due to the anxiety of me doing my (mandatory) army service at the time, and neglecting taking my meds with all the work that had to be done in the camp.

  15. I feel this religious behaviour to be as specified; dangerous, significant, damaging an predatory.

    If these actions were physical in nature, based on the potential and actual outcomes, then it would result in strict criminal sanctions. Physical persuasion is very often insignificant, to what is possible with mental persuasion. A doctor can also be held criminally negligent, based on mere advice and not actions.

    So how can this type of mental conditioning not resultant in criminal sanctions?

  16. I’ve worked in a mental Health Centre for the best part of a decade and have seen how members of a particular church have attempted to infiltrate the centre in order to proselytise to the service users.
    After they have were removed from the premises they they began leafleting in places where the service users would congregate prior to the centre opening.
    The claim that mental health issues = demonic possession is unfortunately not unknown (nor even it would seem, uncommon). Nor are mental health service users the only targets of harassment by proselytisers, as those with learning difficulties also seem to be favourite targets. We actually have an illiterate who got signed up for a bible study course.
    All this goes hand in hand with discrimination of certain groups, notably transgender.

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