Call the police when necessary. If you believe a person is a danger to self or others, always call the police. Don't try to handle it on your own.
Refer to a professional when appropriate. If you believe someone needs referral to a mental-health professional for treatment, talk to the leaders in your church or contact a local Christian counselor for suggestions.
Remember, you are an example of God's love. The way you treat people affected by mental illness will probably translate, at least to some degree, into how they believe God perceives and treats them. Your attitude and actions are powerful. Please make them thoughtful and sensitive.
This article is excerpted from How to Respond to Mental Illness.
—Amy Simpson is author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission and serves as editor of Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership. You can find her at www.AmySimpsonOnline.com and on Twitter @aresimpson. Copyright 2013 by Christianity Today.