Missionaries and other overseas Christian workers are subject to unique stressors, and providing proper support for this group requires a commitment from sending organizations. Despite the fact that in the past mental health problems in missions have been neglected, missions organizations have developed an increasing capacity for supporting missionaries. This presentation describes best practices for behavioral health support. We will discuss how the organizations we have worked with have reduced stigmatization, developed sound procedures for evaluating, supporting, and triaging missionaries and their families who develop psychiatric problems. We will review current medical thinking about resilience, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and burnout and discuss how these concepts can be used to inform medical support for expatriate Christian workers.
(This is Part 1 of a 2 part presentation)