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Abstract

In this article we consider a theology of “person” from the perspective of “mental health.” We first outline how a Lutheran theology of the person takes leave from the teaching of justification, which underscores that humans in healthy relationships are shaped by hope. We then outline the problem of mental well-being in Canada, with a higher than average percentage of people with mental health problems against global averages. This is especially noted among Indigenous populations. Using a case study based on a documentary film of an Indigenous youth, we note how people with mental illnesses reflect the state of society, even while these illnesses are predominantly understood individualistically. We explore how human brokenness is a communally shared experience, with Indigenous populations bearing a disproportionate share of the weight of collective anguish. Illumined by this Indigenous experience that affirms the relationality of all, we note how human suffering includes the suffering of the earth. In conclusion, we propose that the recovery of health for individuals demands attention to the mental health of society and the well-being of creation.

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