In this episode of Writing at the Red House, Kathi sits down with her dear friend Chris Morris to discuss his upcoming book, Resilient and Redeemed: Lessons about Suicidality and Depression from the Psych Ward. Chris shares his personal journey with mental health struggles and how he found the courage to write about his experiences. 

Throughout the conversation, Kathi and Chris delve into the challenges of discussing mental health within Christian circles, emphasizing the importance of transparency and authenticity in relationships. Chris introduces the concept of “giving someone the gift of going second,” which involves setting the stage for transparency by choosing to be transparent first. 

As an advocate for mental health in the church, Chris has noticed a shift in the nature of conversations he has with people, with some seeking guidance for their own struggles and others attempting to relate through the experiences of others. This creates the potential for pushback and negative feedback that may arise from sharing such a personal story, with Chris expressing his confidence in the God-directed words he has written. 

Chris offers advice to aspiring writers who wish to share their own stories, stressing the importance of considering what readers can learn from their experiences that extend beyond the personal narrative.  

For those going through this, or who have loved ones going through this, we encourage our listeners to support Chris by purchasing his book and joining his newsletter list for further discussions on mental health and hard topics. 

Kathi’s Favorite Things:

The Accidental Homesteader

The Collective

Links and Resources:

Resilient and Redeemed: Lessons about Suicidality and Depression from the Psych Ward

Mental Health Resources:  

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
(or 1-800-273-8255)

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 


To share your thoughts

Leave a note in the comment section below.

Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show

Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews really help, and I read each one.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or subscribe to our list now and never miss an episode or blog.

Meet Your Hosts

Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp

Author, Speaker, Writing at the Red House Creator and CEO

Kathi Lipp is the host of the Clutter Free Academy podcast, the Writing at the Red House podcast, and the bestselling author of The Husband Project, Clutter Free, Ready for Anything, and An Abundant Place. She and her husband, Roger, live in the mountains of northern California, where they run the Red House Writing Retreats.

Over the past 10 years, Kathi has helped hundreds of people increase their platform through teaching and coaching. She is a frequent teacher at writer’s conferences and has helped countless authors and speakers find their audiences.

Kathi’s desire to help fellow speakers and authors avoid the mistakes she made, increase their confidence, and be the person God made them to be inspired her creation of Communicator Academy. Her newest adventure is The Red House, where she offers writer’s retreats and Writers in Residence events. Learn more about the Red House at

Chris Morris

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is a certified mental health coach dedicated to promoting understanding of mental health issues within the church. Because of a lifelong struggle with depression and suicidality, Chris became committed to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraging others to seek after holistic health.

As a writer and speaker, Chris has shared his personal story and insights with audiences across the country, inspiring many individuals to take control of their own health, break free from poor theological teaching placed upon them, and seek the support they need. He has published several books on mental health, the most recent being Resilient and Redeemed. His work has been featured in a number of media outlets, including CrossWalk, The Mighty, and Fathom Magazine.

Chris is deeply committed to creating a more compassionate and supportive world and church for individuals living with mental health issues. Through his writing and speaking, he is a powerful voice for change and a beacon of hope for those in need. Find out more at


I’m so excited about this conversation with my friend Chris Morris today, but I’m just going to tell you, it’s got some hard topics. We’re talking about suicidality, talking about depression. So if those are triggering to you, you may want to either skip this episode or listen with somebody you love that you can talk about it with afterwards. And if you have kids in the car and you’re going to school, maybe just pop over to a different podcast so that you can listen to this when you’re in the car by yourself.

Kathi (00:01.42)
Well, hey friends, welcome to writing at the Red House podcast where we gather around the table to break bread and tell tales With some of our favorite writers and creators who share their wisdom to help us all share our story And guys i’ve got one of my dear friends here on the podcast today His name is chris morris. If you have been part of the west coast christian writers conference If you’ve been part of the collective you

have encountered Chris and he has an amazing book coming out. It’s called Resilient and Redeemed. And it’s talking about some very deep topics. And we wanna talk to Chris about feedback. How do you handle feedback when you know it’s not all going to be glowing and positive? And unicorns and kittens, how do you deal with the people who are going to be the haters?

Chris Morris (00:47.65)

Kathi (01:12.796)
Chris, welcome to the podcast.

Chris Morris (01:15.406)
Thanks for having me, Kathi. It’s great to be here.

Kathi (01:18.288)
Um, would you give me in a nutshell the content of your book? Because we want people to have an idea of what you’re going to be talking about because this doesn’t get talked a lot about in Christian circles. So yes, Chris, go first. Go. There you go.

Chris Morris (01:35.278)
Sure. So, so the subtitle is lessons about suicidality and depression from the psych ward. That’s the easiest way to sort of tell you what it’s about. It is a you go on a journey with me throughout my life with the different snippets of my life where I’ve had moments that where my suicidality and my depression have come to the forefront of my life. I like to say that

It is half memoir, half self-help, and half theology. I know that’s three halves. There’s a lot happening in this book and it’s all good.

Kathi (02:11.64)
Yeah, that’s amazing. Okay, so Chris, when you told me you were writing this book, I’m not gonna lie. Like, I wanted to wrap you up in some bubble wrap.

and go ahead and publish the book, but we’re just gonna put you away for about six to nine months and let the dust settle. And so, because here’s the thing, when it comes to mental health, can we just say some Christians, not all, not the people you and I run around with, but some Christians are just weirdos. They’re not wise.

They can come from a place of, well, if you had more faith, if you prayed more, you know, all the stupid things that we have heard. And I’ll admit, I was very concerned that when I heard you were writing this book. And it wasn’t because I didn’t think the book needed to be written. It’s because I didn’t want my friend Chris to be the one who had to write it.

Chris Morris (03:23.426)
Thank you.

Kathi (03:25.988)
because you have gone through some really tough stuff. And I know in many ways that you have grown and you have healed, but I also know I get negative feedback and it’s about, you know, I have to take to my bed. It still affects me. And in some ways I think that’s really good because it makes me very tender to people that I love and I care about. But I’m wondering, how are you girding your loins?

for the arrows that are going to come here. How are you protecting yourself? And I asked you to give me some ways ahead of time. And so one of the things you said is that you, one of the things you’ve talked about is giving someone the gift of going second. So explain what that means, because I have no idea. I can’t wait to hear what you’re gonna say here.

Chris Morris (04:21.678)
Sure. So in every relationship and every conversation, there are unspoken boundaries that guide the conversation. And the easiest way I can describe what I mean by that is if you say, Hey Bob, how are you doing? He says, I’m fine. How are you? You know you need to answer in one sentence or less because he’s already set the expectation.

Kathi (04:48.92)
And it has to be fine or overwhelmed. These are the only two acceptable answers in that particular circumstance, yes.

Chris Morris (04:53.342)
Yes. So with the gift of going second, what that means is we’re, we’re choosing to go first. So let me, let me give that, that same conversation with Bob again, Hey, Bob, how are you doing? He could give a teaser say, well, it’s been a little bit of a rough time lately, to be honest with you, my mental health is a little sideways, but I’m working through it. So what that does is that gives the other person that is engaging in the dialogue.

permission to be a little more real, permission to even ask the question or to express, oh, what’s going on? Oh, man, I’m glad you asked. Actually, that that. So what we’re doing is we’re setting the stage for transparency by choosing to be transparent first. It’s one of the hardest things in life that I’ve gotten pretty good at doing.

Kathi (05:37.476)
So, yeah.

Kathi (05:46.804)
I, yes, and I have to say, you know, there is that core group of friends that I can say, or, you know, I’m also very fortunate to be in a marriage where I can say, today’s not a good day, today’s tough, and I’ve got a core group of friends. But I love that what you’re saying is, maybe this goes beyond.

Chris Morris (06:03.192)

Kathi (06:12.988)
just those couple of people so that you can go first for somebody else and give them permission.

Chris Morris (06:20.534)
Definitely. And there’s always levels. Like with my, with my, one of my besties, Lindsay, she can say, how are you doing? And I’ll be like, I’ll, you know, we, we talk mostly through messenger on Facebook about like, oh, let me tell you. I’m not going to do that with some dude that I’ve just met. So there’s levels, but still the idea of going, of giving someone the gift of going seconds.

Kathi (06:22.818)

Kathi (06:32.496)
Ha ha ha.

Kathi (06:37.292)
Right, right, but there are levels, yes. And, oh.

Chris Morris (06:47.122)
still has application in every level of a relationship that you have.

Kathi (06:51.604)
Yeah, we do. I’ve got a couple of friends. We just do check ins. And in check ins, we’re never allowed to say that we’re fine or overwhelmed.

Chris Morris (06:57.271)

Kathi (07:02.124)
We have to say, you know, here’s what’s going great. Here’s what I’m struggling with. And those check-ins are really helpful to me because I know I don’t get to go away with the pat answer. I don’t get to go and just say, oh, I’m fine. How are you? And they’re fine. And, you know, then we find out, oh, you know, online. No, actually, my mom’s been in hospice or.

Chris Morris (07:29.239)

Kathi (07:29.676)
I’m going through a marriage crisis or whatever the thing is. We’re never gonna find out by surprise. So I love that idea of gift of going second. And I feel like in your book, that’s kind of what you’re doing. You’re saying it was not okay. It was, I spent time in a mental health ward.

I spent time recovering from a suicide attempt. I, it was really rough. How has that changed your interactions with people that now know about your story? Has it allowed people to open up more with you?

Chris Morris (08:15.87)
Yeah, it’s really interesting to think about that. Ever since I started sort of representing myself as a mental health advocate for the church, which was…

Chris Morris (08:32.127)
I think I had an audio problem, am I still here?

Kathi (08:34.597)
Oh, you’re great, yeah. No, that’s fine.

Chris Morris (08:36.79)
Okay, sorry. Ever since I started representing myself as a mental advocate for the church, the nature of the conversations I’ve had with people has really dramatically shifted in some surprising ways. Like people will, they’ll say, Oh, Chris, I you’re a mental health advocate, let me tell you about and something, it goes in two different ways. One is helpful. One is just weird. Helpful. I, I know you do.

Kathi (09:01.92)
Okay, I want to hear both.

Chris Morris (09:05.922)
I’m gonna give people the weird one, but I’m gonna give them both because of you. The helpful one is, oh, I’ve really been struggling myself with anxiety. Do you have any thoughts? And so we have a really frank conversation really quickly. It sort of goes from like, hi, I’m Bob, to I struggle with anxiety. Very dramatically. And then the other one is, the weird one is, oh, my friend’s sister’s roommate once had a hard bout with depression.

Kathi (09:09.802)

Kathi (09:26.18)
Yeah. Wow.

Chris Morris (09:36.778)
And I’m like, cool. I don’t know what to do with that.

Kathi (09:39.604)
Yeah. Right. Are they trying to make you feel better? Are they trying to identify? Like, yeah, it’s an interesting take, isn’t it?

Chris Morris (09:51.071)

Kathi (09:52.368)
And you know what, I mean, let’s just give it to people. Some of us are just awkward. We don’t know what to say. You know, it really is interesting. And maybe that’s gonna be their first response, but that lays the groundwork for six months later, where they’re able to say, I’m struggling. So, you know, we give it to our awkward friends because we’ve all been that awkward friend. But yes, they’re trying to identify. So here’s my question.

Chris Morris (10:06.126)

Kathi (10:19.6)
how did you find the courage to write this? Because this is not something that happened 20 years ago. This is four years ago. And first of all, I love that you wrote from an aspect of, yes, I have healed so much, and yes, I am still going through some very significant things. I mean, that’s just, it’s the two answers can be right at the same time.

Chris Morris (10:28.451)

Chris Morris (10:47.842)

Kathi (10:48.2)
So where did you find it in yourself to be able to do this? Or maybe you found it outside of yourself.

Chris Morris (10:54.942)
You know, for as long as I have been a follower of Christ, God has always placed this thing in me that says, what you’re going through isn’t only for you. It’s sourced in one of the Corinthian epistles. I can’t remember which one and I don’t know the address.

Paul says, the comfort we have been given has been given to us in order that we might later comfort others.

Chris Morris (11:31.934)
I read that not too long after I first became a Christian. I just settled into my gut in a really deep way. And it’s sort of like the Lord highlighted that idea and said to me, everything you’re going through, you’re going through not just for yourself, but you’re going through it in order to be an encouragement and a strength to others. So that is part of the reason that I was able to write this.

The other reason that I was able to write it is because, gosh, I have met so many people over the last two years, three years, that are struggling so hard and are in such unhealthy church environments, like what you were talking about with there’s a spiritual answer to everything, that they just need a life raft.

Kathi (12:22.164)
Yeah, it’s so true, right? And.

You know, I mean, as much as I would love to delve into, come on, church, snap out of it, you know, and it’s not every church. But there are some, I want to talk to the writers out there. Because you have had I mean, this is a compelling story. Let’s be honest, it’s very, it’s interesting.

Kathi (12:58.11)
I think that’s interesting. And, but a lot of people go through something really hard or something that is unimaginable. And everybody around them tells them, write a book. You should write a book. That your story is so interesting. You should write a book. But I love the scripture you just shared with us because it’s not just about sharing the story.

It’s about how are you going to give help to the people who are reading your story? How are you going to give comfort to those people? Because you’ve come through this, you have been comforted by God and by others. How do you give that advice? I don’t know, do you have people who tell you, oh, everybody says I should write a book? What is your response to that?

Chris Morris (13:31.821)

Chris Morris (13:51.614)
I do, I have had a lot of people come up to me and say, Oh, I’ve been wanting to write a, write a book about my story. And like the first thing I asked them, well, the first thing I tell them is. I mean, you could definitely do that in today’s world of self publishing. You don’t need anyone to give you permission. So that’s the first thing. However, if you want to sell more than 12 copies, you need to think about a few things. Probably the biggest thing you need to think about is what.

Kathi (14:07.264)
100%. Yes.

Kathi (14:15.883)

Chris Morris (14:19.114)
What do you hope that your readers are going to learn from your story that exists, that sort of sets itself outside of your story per se. That’s why I said, like my book is part self-help and part theology. Cause those are elements that are, that are wrapped into the story that make it. Yes, it’s about Chris, but it’s also about a lot more than Chris.

Kathi (14:33.856)

Kathi (14:41.468)
Right, your story is a reflection of the bigger issue.

Chris Morris (14:47.415)

Kathi (14:48.457)
the bigger problem, both personally and in the church. And so you’re giving, you’ve got lots of hooks in there. And I don’t mean like writing hooks, but a lot of places where you can say, here’s some practical help, or here’s a spiritual principle that you may wanna explore, or here is something you could take to your church to help people who are in this situation. Okay, so.

Chris Morris (15:10.149)

Kathi (15:15.352)
Chris, there are gonna be a lot of people who think this book didn’t need to be written. I’m gonna say all the ugly things that I think are gonna come at you, you knowing not one of these is coming from me, right? We can agree on that because you know I don’t believe, a man shouldn’t go through something like that.

Chris Morris (15:33.656)


Kathi (15:44.276)
If you, you know, if only you were tougher, Chris, I mean, because these sounds so silly coming out of my mouth, but there are actually human beings in the church who think this this, there is this, I don’t know, from the people I watch, they call them red pill people. I don’t I don’t really understand the reference. I know it’s a Keanu Reeves reference. I don’t really understand it. But

If you were only tougher, if you had more faith in God, if you really loved your wife, you wouldn’t have gone through this. And here’s what I can imagine, Chris, that you have said some of these things to yourself in the deepest, darkest parts of your life. Is that a mistake or is that true?

Chris Morris (16:31.87)
No, you’re 100% right. Yeah.

Kathi (16:33.864)
What am I missing? What are the other ugly things that people have either said or you imagine people might be saying or you’ve said to yourself? Okay, good

Chris Morris (16:43.006)
You hit on the big ones that the, yeah, if you only had more faith, you’re a man, you shouldn’t be dealing with this. That’s a big one. Um, if you really loved your family, you know, have you tried praying? That’s my favorite one. No, I’ve never considered that. Thank you.

Kathi (16:51.118)

Kathi (17:00.216)
It’s like when people say to me, have you thought about losing weight? You’re a genius. No, that has never occurred to me in my entire life. You should be a life coach. So you know that these are either, OK, there are two equally terrible things. You either know that these things are coming, or you know that they could come. I mean, those are both terrible, right?

Chris Morris (17:23.01)

Kathi (17:26.18)
So how do you prepare for the pushback?

Chris Morris (17:31.966)
I think the first thing that I have to say is that I am very proud of the words that I’ve written in this book. And I stand by the stories, the moments that happen in my life as truth, but also the applications from my life and the spiritual principles that are drawn from my life. And I’m 100% confident that those are God-directed words.

So if someone wants to come at me with something, I’m okay with that. My favorite verse is Romans 8:31, if God is for us, who can be against us? I know God is for me in this book and the writing of this book and the purpose behind the book. But I’ve also done some work of, like I mentioned my friend Lindsay, I’ve done some work with her because she’s really good at cognitive reframing. You know, where I’ve said to her, I…

Kathi (18:11.98)
It’s so true.

Kathi (18:28.836)

Chris Morris (18:31.826)
I feel like one or two really bad reviews on Amazon or one or two really bad emails could wreck me. And, and in a wonderful way, she’s like, cool, let’s talk about that. What, what is your biggest fear? Let’s prepare for it ahead of time. Let’s think about it ahead of time. So you can already have your answer prepared. So we’ve already done that. I’m already ready. I’m not thrilled, but I’m expecting it.

Kathi (18:56.445)
I love it.

And I’ll just give you my little hint, and then we’re gonna close up because we want to get to some of these resources. But I figure I have not done my job as an author until I have five really bad reviews. It has not gotten far enough. So if I don’t get five really bad reviews, I’m just not trying hard enough. I haven’t been, I haven’t pushed the envelope enough. Chris, I cannot wait for this book to come into the world. It’s resilient and redeemed.

Kathi (19:28.542)
We’re going to have a link in our show notes so that you can go buy this book at all your favorite retailers. Also, Chris has a newsletter list and I would encourage you to go be a part of that because I know that Chris not only talks about mental health, but talks about talking about mental health.

And if you’ve got a hard topic that you want to discuss, this is a great place to get the kind of encouragement you need. Chris, thanks so much for being on the podcast. Oh, Chris, it’s such a great conversation. And friends, we’re so glad that you are part of this conversation too. You’ve been listening to the Writing at the Red House podcast. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go tell your only you story of God’s extravagant love in your life.

Chris Morris (20:00.366)
It’s been a pleasure, thank you.


Writing Tip Newsletter

Join us for encouragement as you write and get Kathi's free 7 Day Platform Plan!

Success! Please check email to confirm.