This piece by Mercy Survivor Chelsea was originally published on her personal blog, The Pink Propaganda, and can be viewed here.
Recently on our Shut Down Mercy Ministries page, we had a woman by the name of ?Beth come onto the page and blame any girl who had ever committed/attempted suicide after Mercy Ministries. Which by the way is more than you and I will ever know about.The conversation went something like this. It’s been since removed, because we have had girls who have attempted suicide and do not NEED to hear that it’s their fault. Nor do family members of the deceased need to hear it.
“Mercy Ministries is great, I’ve been working there for over 40 years. I’ve seen so many girls set free“
(The usual Mercy fluff and the fact that Mercy Ministries is just now celebrating their 30th anniversary and Nancy Alcorn is in her mid 50s, so she would have been a teenager when starting Mercy Ministries, so her ability to exaggerate was noted.)
I responded with
“Mercy Ministries is only 30 years old, etc, etc. And did you also follow the girls that went home and committed or attempted suicide?“
She responded with
“If they CHOSE to go home and commit suicide that’s not Mercy’s fault. It was their decision. God says “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; choose life“
I responded with
“You’ve worked with girls with mental illnesses for “over forty years” and you still think that suicidal thoughts are a choice? This is the EXACT kind of ignorance that’s portrayed at Mercy Ministries among the staff members.“
Having had extreme suicidal ideations in the past myself. Especially after leaving Mercy Ministries where I overdosed on a bottle of wellbutrin, that they sent home with me, because I never got to take it there and spent two weeks in a medical hospital. I can tell you it wasn’t about choosing between “life and death”. You can pull a Bible verse out of anywhere and misuse it all you want, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that girls often leave Mercy Ministries confused and suicidal and I’m about to tell you why.
Mercy Ministries messes with your core being. They tear you down until you’re nothing. They make you depend on them for everything. When you wake, what money you spend, whether you get to make a phone call, what girls you can talk to, what news you get to hear, every major decision you make, you reported every thought, every feeling to the staff. They controlled whether you’ll spend the afternoon doing assignments or washing a van, what you eat, how you dress, who you interact with.
They created a need for obedience and dependence on them. Everything you once knew, you don’t know anymore. Some girls they can succeed into making “Mercy Warriors”. They build these girls up to combat their BEHAVIORS. But often enough girls don’t just have BEHAVIORS. They have chemical imbalances and Mercy fails at building these girls back up and leaves them lifeless, lying on the floor, with no identity and no real coping skills. They add to their stress by abandoning them, either kicking them out or after graduation cutting ties, because the girl has gone back to her “behaviors”. Which aren’t actually behaviors or choices. Dearest Mercy Ministries and BETH.
The girl often feels hopeless and helpless. “Mercy promised me I’d get better and so many other girls have (have they? As an episode of SVU once said “Anyone can cook the books Captain”) I must just be trash. I’ll never get better”.
Beth is the prime example of what Mercy Ministries staff DO and ARE. They have no knowledge about mental illnesses. No experience. They hold a Bible in one hand and their “CHOICES that bring change” curriculum in the other. And they charge full throttle towards girls who are on the brink of death.