Mental Health and Well Being


After several years in India, E. Stanley Jones began to experience a series of what were described as mental breakdowns.  Jones writes,

My body did not throw off disease as before and I began to have nervous collapses. As a consequence, at the end of eight and one half years, I was ordered to go to America on furlough. So at the end of my first term as a missionary I ended up with a call and a collapse.” He continues, “I knew I was called to put Christ into the minds and souls and purposes of the intellectual and political leaders of this new awakening India. But when I looked at my resources – intellectual, spiritual, physical – there were question marks bordering on dismay. That I should respond to this call was clear. How I was to do it was far from clear?

It would appear that Jones’ repeated “breakdowns” were the result of job related stress (he served as a District Superintendent, the agent of the Methodist Publishing House in Lucknow and continued traveling as an evangelist), depression, and the lingering physical effects of tetanus, as well as the difficulties of living in India with the intense heat and disease.  At about this same time, Jones became ill with appendicitis.  He would later acknowledge that he was experiencing inner conflicts and was living and preaching beyond his experience. (Graham 108) These two factors contributed massively to his profound spiritual unrest.  He left India on furlough in 1916, but upon his return to India in 1917, the physical complaints continued, and Jones felt that he was finally unable to carry on. In fact, after 8 years in India (and the furlough – for rest and renewal – in the United States) Jones was mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted.  He believed that he was done for.  He writes,

I knew the game was up – I would have to leave the mission field and my work to try to regain my shattered health. As I knelt in prayer in the Lal Bagh church, I gave up my shattered health to Christ and surrendered everything to God that I was healed. I rose from my knees a well man.

Jones now had the spiritual resources to continue his evangelistic work.  He was convinced that these same resources would be available to all who are truly converted.  Jones describes this profound experience of healing as follows:

Without that total rescuing from weakness to strength, from confusion to certainty, from inner conflict to unity, from myself to his Self, I doubt whether I would have had the nerve to undertaking this work to which I had been called. It was too demanding, too baffling, and too overwhelmingly difficult to match it with bare human resources. As I look back, I now see that it was good that I should start with so little, for I could take so much.

Jones often used as illustrations persons who were alcoholic and who dramatically gave up drinking after they were converted.  He was involved in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, (AA).  One of AA’s founders, Dr. Bob studied Abundant Living and Living Victoriously.  Both books are often cited in the history of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement.  For examples, Step #4, Surrender, and Step #11, Necessity for a Quiet Time, from AA’s Twelve Steps to Sobriety sound strikingly similar to Jones emphasis on conversion and the maintenance of a daily spiritual discipline.  These two “steps” are the primary subjects of the two books mentioned above.

(Excerpts taken from Jones’ books, A Song of Ascents, Abundant Living, Living Victoriously, and also points from AA’s 12 Steps to Sobriety.)

Jones was progressive in his view that spirit, mind, and body are a whole: “There used to be a time when we would hand the body over to the doctor, the mind to the psychiatrist and the soul to the minister” (190).  Instead, they are all bound up together, and when the mind is ill, that illness can be passed on to the body, and illnesses of the body can affect the mind as well.  Spiritual unease can impact both the body and the mind.  Human beings are units, not pieces.

In the late 1940s Jones began his plans to open up a “sanatorium” in Lucknow, India.  According to Graham, “It would provide both psychiatric treatment and spiritual healing for missionaries and others.  No doubt Jones was influenced by this plan to start a psychiatric hospital by the memories of his own experience of emotional distress earlier in his career.” The Nur Manzil Psychiatric Center in Lucknow, India opened by Jones in the late 1950s remains in existence and continues to respond to patients’ psychological, social, and spiritual needs.  It is commonplace now to make the mind/body connection, and Jones affirmed it almost fifty years ago. 

In the 1940s,  Dr. E. Stanley Jones took up the cause of persons with mental illness and their families and in 1950 established the Nur Manzil Psychiatric Center in Lucknow, India.  Over the years, the Center has evolved to provide quality mental health care to people from all over the Indian subcontinent. Embracing changes and developments in psychiatry, Nur Manzil has been a learning and working environment for renowned mental health professionals from the world over to practice their art. It has been a source of effective treatment and healing to patients and their caregivers alike. Dr. E. Stanley Jones believed firmly that treatment of mental and behavioral illnesses is best done through bio-psychosocial and spiritual holistic strength-based approaches to psychiatric care.

Today, the Center continues to pioneer in the field of psychiatry as a charitable institution offering its unique services to the society at large without any discrimination because of religion, gender, social or economic status.

Nur Manzil owes its existence to the foresight of Dr. E. Stanley Jones who believed in creating a Psychiatric Center to offer the full benefits of modern Psychiatry in an environment in which the individual care and concern for the human being as a whole would prevail. He emphasized that the care of the mind alone would not be enough to reach full health. It is therefore, necessary that attention be focused towards Psychological, Social and Spiritual needs of the patient for providing wholistic health.

Dr. Jones met frequently with Dr. Karl Menninger, the world famous Psychoanalyst, who agreed to help Dr. E. Stanley Jones establish a psychiatric center in India. His dream became reality when in 1945, Dr. Dagmar Norell, a Swedish Psychiatrist at the Menninger Institute, agreed to start a Center for psychiatric services in Lucknow.  The Nur Manzil (Palace of Light) Psychiatric Center officially opened on December 13, 1950.

During those early years custodial care in State Mental Asylums was the only service available in India. No doubt prompted in part by the medical/psychiatric treatment for major mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, BiPolar, and Depression at Nur Manzil, the hospital has influenced the practice of Psychiatry across India. Over the years the number of patients in need of psychiatric care has increased with lifestyle and stress-related diseases on the rise.

Nur Manzil has kept abreast with the recent advances in contemporary Psychiatry adding new programs and facilities as the need and demand increased. Many distinguished Psychiatrists from Sweden, Switzerland, U.S.A., Britain and Australia have contributed greatly to the development of Nur Manzil, which is now under the full time leadership of Indian physicians and a range of mental health professionals.

Outpatient services began in 1950 and and a 60 bed inpatient facility was added in 1952. Emergenices are attended 24/7. In 1978, the hospital introduced family therapy and opened an addiction treatment unit.  Behavior Therapy services started in 1980 and increasingly Nur Manzil became known as a psychiatric treatment Center actively involved in the prevention, treatment, research and training of nursing and medical students. The facility is currently used by twenty colleges and universities. Post graduate students in Clinical Psychology, Social Work and Doctoral students in psychiatric research also avail themselves of the resources of Nur Manzil.

In 1980 Nur Manzil was recognized as an internship training site in Psychiatry by the Medical Council of India. A new hospital wing was built in 1999 to accommodate the growing inpatient demand, including long-stay psychiatric rehabilitation patients and out patient populations. The implementation of innovative treatments and programs continue to represent the hospital’s high standards of psychiatric care.