Presentation Solutions recently spoke with Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries. Nancy Alcorn began her career working with young women in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Mercy Ministries is a non-profit founded by Nancy Alcorn that works with young women helping them find hope and restoration. Nancy Alcorn is the author of several popular books on these subjects including the “Mercy For” series that deals directly with eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, and sexual abuse. As well, Nancy Alcorn is a sought-after conference and event speaker. In this interview, Nancy Alcorn discusses the alarming rise in self-harm among young women.
Presentation Solutions: First off, welcome to our readership Nancy Alcorn. It is a pleasure to speak with you today. We know you are busy with Mercy Ministries and your speaking schedule.
Nancy Alcorn: I appreciate your time and help in getting the message out there on behalf of young women in need at Mercy.
Presentation Solutions: On a personal, professional note, you left the Department of Corrections after several years of work with female juveniles. Why?
Nancy Alcorn: It was because I realized that true-life change in the lives of young women would never come in the form of a government program. True-life change only happens through the power of Jesus Christ.
Presentation Solutions: And it’s true that you saw some juvenile delinquents go through government programs, only to enter a corrections facility as an adult?
Nancy Alcorn: That is true. Again, true-life change does not come from a program. True-life change is spiritual in nature. Jesus Christ, His power, His grace, His unending love and mercy, can transform lives. We as people, as counselors and teachers are simply a conduit for His power.
Presentation Solutions: Self-harm. All studies point to this as a major issue for young women. Talk to us about the statistics.
Nancy Alcorn: Last year, the number of young women seeking help from self-harm doubled.
Presentation Solutions: Unbelievable. Can you define for our readers what self-harm is?
Nancy Alcorn: Self-harm is often referred to as self-injuring or cutting. It is a deliberative and repetitive behavior of harming the body impulsively. Most of the time, in our experience at Mercy Ministries, the young women are injuring themselves secretively and therefore it can be difficult to detect.
Presentation Solutions: You have written a book on this specific topic, correct?
Nancy Alcorn: I have.
Presentation Solutions: What are some signs and symptoms that parents, family and friends may witness in a young woman who is dealing with this dark issue?
Nancy Alcorn: Well first off, you said the work dark. We see it only as “dark” from a spiritual side. Darkness seeks to destroy the lives of these young women. At Mercy Ministries we know that the light of Jesus Christ can free anyone, any young woman from any bondage, including cutting.
Presentation Solutions: And Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries use biblically based counseling and curriculum to help those dealing with self-harm.
Nancy Alcorn: Yes, we do. And we do it free of charge to the young women. Because again, we know that this is spiritual warfare. Self-harm is not the issue, that something that is driving the girl to self-harm is the issue. So we know that the power of God’s grace and unconditional love can help these young women overcome addictions and past hurts.
Presentation Solutions: Outstanding. So again, Nancy Alcorn, help our readers understand the symptoms and signs of self-harm.
Nancy Alcorn: Typically the cutting will be in an area that is not exposed. Sometimes young women respond to certain situations that are unexpected or respond to pressure situations with constant scratching. Or a young woman may continually pick the same scab, thereby preventing it from healing.
Presentation Solutions: But Nancy Alcorn, how can family or friends see this kind of hurt, if it is often in private where a young girl is harming herself?
Nancy Alcorn: You have to be aware and observe. If you notice a young woman who seems to always have burns or severe bruises on her forearms, or someone who is biting the inside of their mouth with purpose, or appears to have patches of missing or thinning hair; then there is a potential victim of self-harm. Or it could be abuse. Either way, we have to pay attention and observe.
Presentation Solutions: Nancy Alcorn, thank you for your time today. On behalf of our many readers we continue to be thankful for Mercy Ministries. Presentation Solutions wants to encourage your supporters to pray for Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries. As well, we encourage our readers to partner with you in any way they can.
Nancy Alcorn: Thank you so much. Those prayers are felt.
Nancy Alcorn is the Founder and President of Mercy Ministries. Working with over 3000 women since 1983, Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries help restore the lives of young women. Mercy Ministries utilizes nutritionists, licensed Christian counselors and a biblically-based curriculum with the emphasis that true freedom from addiction and life-controlling issues is possible. All of this is free of charge for the women. According to Nancy Alcorn, in a recent survey of former Mercy Ministries graduates, 93 percent responded that Mercy Ministries six-month residential counseling program had transformed their lives and restored their hope.
About Nancy Alcorn
During her five years working for the state of Tennessee, at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls, Nancy Alcorn developed a passion to impact the lives of hurting young women. Time and time again, Nancy Alcorn watched as the young women she worked with at the juvenile facility passed the age of eighteen and ended up in the women’s prison system because they never got the real help they needed.
During the next three years, as Nancy Alcorn investigated child abuse cases for the state of Tennessee, she saw firsthand why so many of these young women were angry and hurting. Working with juvenile delinquent girls and investigating alleged cases of child abuse gave Nancy Alcorn the opportunity to interact directly with secular rehabilitation programs and the girls impacted by those programs. It was during this time that Nancy Alcorn realized that these programs were not producing permanent results that exemplified changed lives.
Following her tenure with the state, Nancy Alcorn accepted an appointment as Director of Women for the Nashville Teen Challenge. Through all of these experiences, Nancy Alcorn began to realize that true transformation would never come as the result of any government system. Nancy Alcorn understood that only Jesus could bring restoration into the lives of girls who were desperately hurting and searching for something to fill the void they felt in their hearts.
Nancy Alcorn began to sense that God was unfolding a plan prompting her to step out in faith. God called Nancy Alcorn to help hurting young women find freedom and have their lives transformed. With her experience to assist her and God to guide her, Nancy Alcorn would prayerfully make a giant step of faith to help hurting young women.
In January of 1983, Nancy Alcorn relocated to Monroe, Louisiana and established Mercy Ministries of America. Nancy Alcorn was determined that the Mercy Ministries program would bring about true-life change in the lives of young women. With that in mind, Nancy Alcorn knew there were three guiding principles to which she must always remain faithful. First, Nancy Alcorn committed that Mercy Ministries would accept girls free of charge. Second, Nancy Alcorn committed that Mercy Ministries would donate ten percent of all donations to other organizations and ministries. Third, Nancy Alcorn made the decision that Mercy Ministries would never accept any state or federal funding. In no way did Nancy Alcorn want any money that might interfere with the freedom to share Christ.
Since 1983, Mercy Ministries, under the leadership of Nancy Alcorn, has seen exponential growth and impact. Establishing locations in Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri and California, Nancy Alcorn has seen her God-sized dream impact numerous women ages 13 to 28. Nancy Alcorn has seen Mercy Ministries grow beyond the borders of the United States with home in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada.
Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries help young women seeking freedom from physical and sexual abuse (including sex trafficking), eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addiction, depression and unplanned pregnancy. Mercy Ministries, with Nancy Alcorn serving as Founder and President, assists young women through a non-conventional approach to healing that allows them to stop and break destructive cycles of behavior. Nancy Alcorn continues her commitment to helping young women recognize their self-worth and reach their full potential.
For more information about the services offered by Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries, visit the Mercy website online at http://www.mercyministries.com.