Observations from The Gathering on Mental Health and The Church held at Saddleback Church on March 28, 2014:
- This was not a churchy pray away the problem type of event. It was very scientifically sound and included teaching from some top mental health professionals including Daniel Amen, MD, Tom Okamoto, MD and Aaron Kheriaty, MD (Professor of Psychiatry at UC Irvine).
- The goal was to prepare church leaders to effectively deal with mental health issues because 26% of adults will have these issues and one third of these folks seek help from the local church first.
- Another goal of the event was to reduce the stigma and reduce the fear of mental illness.
- Science and religion should be in dialogue–not contradict each other.
- Research shows prayer and meditation are very helpful to those with some mental health issues.
- We’re all mentally ill on some level–it’s just a continuum–so don’t judge others!
- Family, faith and community support are huge factors in successfully treating those with mental illness.
Conclusion–this was an amazing, much needed and much overdue event! Lives will be changed and even saved from the seeds planted at this event. Personally, I am very grateful to work at a church that is on the forefront of providing quality mental health care to our community.
You can watch a webcast of the event and download the accompanying workbook here: http://mentalhealthandthechurch.com/Webcast. The workbook is an incredible compilation of helpful resources and next steps in helping those struggling with mental health issues.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.