This piece by Mercy Survivor Anna was published on her personal blog, External Mercy, and can be viewed here.
A review of Mercy Multiplied’s Guidelines for Establishing a Residential Counseling Ministry.
This post comes with a bit of a warning…the eye roll warning. Due to this, I recommend carefully rotating your eyes up, down, and around to prepare your ocular muscles for the involuntary eye-rolling that could be a side effect of seeing the incredible stupidity that Mercy Multiplied continues to demonstrate in their so-called manual.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way…we’ve come to the portion of Mercy Multiplied’s manual that talks about facilities. Yes, my friend, we’ve already gone to having a building and location…and no, you didn’t miss the post where the manual talked about the actual care or treatment of residents in this hypothetical establishment of a residential counseling center. I won’t go off again on how screwed up these priorities are, but does it seem odd that we’re already going to talk about what equipment you should buy to open a residential counseling center and not once has there been even a SUGGESTION of consulting with mental health professionals who have specialized training or experience? And again, I’m getting repetitive, but if Mercy Multiplied is assuming that they need to tell their readers things to buy for such a facility such as storage cabinets, brooms, first aid supplies, and computers for the offices, you should probably not be recommending that they open a residential counseling center. I mean, if you don’t have the cognitive ability to think these things through on your own, you are not the person to be creating an entire residential program for individuals with mental health disorders. <deep breath> Yeah, that’s why I recommended preparing your eyes for this topic.
Basically it’s a bunch of common sense recommendations that aren’t worth the digital paper they’re printed on…literally. A Wikipedia article on how to start a small business would probably give you this much and more for free. But in case you don’t know that you need to have a mop to clean the floors if you’re going to run a residential treatment center, Mercy Multiplied can hook you up with that information (for a small fee of course).
Now tagged onto the end of this section is a little paragraph entitled “Insurance”. Guess what they recommend you should do when it comes to insurance and risk management? They recommend that you find a good prayer counselor who has no training whatsoever on the topic of insurance and ask them what God’s will is for your insurance policy. Just kidding, actually they recommend that you should “seek the guidance of a knowledgeable insurance agent…” (p. 29). Now if I were Mercy Multiplied, I’d want an insurance agent that was not only very well-versed in risk management and insurance coverage but also to have an individual with legal experience as well, because they’re frankly treading on some really shaky ground when it comes to the “services” that they offer when it comes to legality and liability. Maybe Mercy Multiplied doesn’t have to worry about that since it’s difficult for individuals who are struggling with life controlling mental illnesses to file lawsuits or for individuals who did not get the help they were promised to stay alive to then come back from the dead and file a complaint. There’s some serious roadblocks to actual litigation and being held accountable when you’re dealing with a faith-based organization who refuses to come under any oversight, certification, or accountability with regard to the treatment and care of residents.
My favorite part about the insurance is the last line:
“Only a licensed and reputable insurance agent should provide specific information on the requirements and recommendations for your ministry” (p. 29).
So, let’s remember that this is a ministry that is (supposedly) solely focused on the lives of young women who are struggling with mental illness, severe abuse, addiction, and other life controlling issues, but so far in the first three quarters of this manual the readers have been advised to seek reputable, experienced legal counsel, a certified public accountant, and a licensed and reputable insurance agent, but there’s been no mention of seeking ANY professionals who are experienced in the areas that the residents are seeking help in. Does it not seem super hypocritical for Mercy Multiplied to make sure to tell you to find a licensed insurance agent when they refuse to even bother to hire licensed professional counselors for the very people that they are claiming to minister to? I mean, personally I’d probably be more concerned about who was helping an individual who was chronically suicidal being qualified to help than someone helping me do my taxes. If you get it wrong with your taxes, you’ll get in trouble with the IRS and you might even have to pay fines. If you get it wrong with someone struggling illnesses with high mortality rates, there’s no fines…there’s no warning letter from the IRS…there’s a lost life…decades wasted due to ineffective treatment and devastated friends and families. Does Mercy Multiplied really think that it’s okay to place greater importance on their organization’s financial records or possible liability issues than the lives of those that they claim to be helping? It just seems wrong on so many levels.
**All quotes are from Mercy Multiplied, Guidelines for Establishing a Residential Counseling Ministry, Retrieved October 2015.**