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Caring for Mental Health

Resources

5 Resources
book
Increasing Wholeness: Jewish Wisdom and Guided Meditations to Strengthen and Calm Body, Heart, Mind and Soul
This book draws on Jewish wisdom and psychology to help readers achieve inner wholeness.
web resource
Latinx/Hispanic Communities and Mental Health
This resource hub provides colorful tip sheets, self-screening, and mental health resources for Latinx communities.
media
Leadership and Grief: A Conversation for Pastors
This webinar provides models of grief and lament, coping mechanisms, leadership on trauma care, and considerations unique to the African American experience.
media
Mental Health Tips for African Americans to Heal after Collectively Witnessing an Injustice
This video provides mental health ideas and resources to cope with racial trauma and social distancing.
web resource
Spiritual First Aid
This resource hub combines faith and psychology to empower you to care for others from a distance.

About the Contributor

Contributor
Kate White

Kate is the associate director for resources at the Center for Congregations. She manages educational resources and works to get the best resources into the hands of congregations.

Mental Health And The Church

When people think about pillars of their community, one of the most common examples that emerges will often be the church. When people are struggling with difficult situations either within themselves, among their family members, or in the professional world, they will often turn to their local congregation for assistance, support and reassurance. One of the biggest problems facing the healthcare community today is mental health. In the past, there has been a stigma surrounding mental health issues - but today, this stigma has begun to fade, and there are many more resources available. This means that the church can also provide people in their congregation with access to more mental health assistance than ever before.

When it comes to church and mental health, it can be good to understand that many people are likely to turn to their religious leaders first, when they're struggling with their mental health. Some of the most common mental health issues that people may experience and turn to their religious leaders for assistance with can include depression, anxiety, and even bipolar disorder. A lot of mental health issues can also lead to hallucinations and delusions, which are closely tied to delusions of grandeur, which is a topic that the church may be able provide assistance with.

For all of these reasons, it can be helpful for religious leaders to understand the intricate relationship between mental health and the church. Even though religious leaders can provide a lot of assistance to those in need, it might also be good to remember that the congregation can provide help. For example, there may be members of the congregation who are mental health professionals. If they are comfortable in providing assistance, then it might be helpful for the group to provide a way for these individuals to connect. Individuals who struggle with mental health issues can benefit greatly from having access to the same type of care as those who suffer from other medical conditions do. Therefore, the congregation may be well-served in taking time to understand the key role that they play, and how they can uniquely help people find the help that they need.

Depression in Churches

One of the most common kinds of mental health issues that people may often turn to the church for assistance with is depression. In the past, people had a tendency to think that depression was simply something that people needed to get over. Now, however, it is clear that depression is a medical issue that needs to be treated with the same care and compassion as any other type of medical problem. Depression can manifest itself in different ways and in different people. Some of the most common symptoms of depression can include:

People with depression will often have trouble sleeping, or they may conversely be sleeping more often than before. Individuals with depression may have changes in their appetite. They may start to eat more than they did in the past, or they might even lose their appetite completely. Individuals who suffer from depression may feel guilty about situations that are not their fault in any way. People who are struggling with depression may lose the ability to enjoy activities which used to bring them pleasure.

When it comes to depression and churches, it can be helpful for religious leaders to know that they are in a special position from which they can lend a helping hand. Depression statistics in the church show that a lot of people who suffer from depression will turn to their congregation for assistance.

Therefore, it can be good for religious leaders to make sure that they provide training to members of their staff. For instance, it might be helpful to teach religious leaders how to respond to common questions and concerns that people have, related to depression. Then, it might be helpful for religious leaders to make sure to provide continuing education to their fellow religious leaders, as well. For example, they may want to stay up-to-date on the types of resources that are available for individuals who suffer from depression in the community. That way, they will be able to provide their religious leaders with access to the professional expertise they need in order to help people who suffer from depression.

Clergy Mental Health

In addition to helping other people who are suffering from depression, it can be good for religious leaders to take steps to ensure that they are able to focus on their own mental health. Because a lot of religious leaders often spend their days helping people solve their own problems, it can be easy for religious leaders to forget about taking care of themselves in the process. Religious leaders are only human, and they also need to make sure to set aside time to take care of themselves. After all, only by first taking care of themselves will they then be able to truly help other people.

When it comes to clergy mental health, there are plenty of resources available. One of the first places that religious leaders can turn to for guidance is other religious leaders. For example, there are mental health pastor options available for religious leaders who are trying to improve their own mental health. By speaking with other people in their own field, they may be able to obtain a slightly different new perspective, regarding how they can take care of their own mental health.

Of course, there may come a time when religious leaders would benefit from looking outside of the religious community, as well. The good news is that there are completely confidential options available for those who are seeking mental health assistance as a religious leader. For instance, there are live chat options, telehealth options, and video conferencing options that can help religious leaders to access the mental health resources they need in order to properly take care of themselves. And finally, it can also be good for religious leaders to know that they can see professional psychologists, psychiatrists, the emergency room, and numerous other medical professionals, if they feel like their mental health truly needs the attention of experts in the field. If religious leaders do not take care of themselves, they will likely have a hard time in taking care of others.

Faith and Mental Health

Today, it can be helpful for everyone to consider taking a comprehensive approach, when it comes to taking care of their mental health. As such, it can be good for religious leaders to turn to faith, in order to help people take care of their mental health - particularly given their area of expertise. When it comes to faith and mental health, believing in a higher power can help people recover. One of the most common reasons why people suffer from depression is that they can begin to feel a never-ending sense of despair. By encouraging people in the congregation to keep their faith, though, people may be able to recover more quickly.

Spirituality and mental health recovery can go hand-in-hand. When people place their faith in a higher power, they can very well begin increasing their chances of improving their perspective on their own individual problems, as well. Therefore, spirituality can prove to be a key element in helping people recover from a variety of mental health issues. It can also be good for religious leaders to understand that spirituality and faith are only one portion of the mental health recovery path. With this in mind, religious leaders might also consider referring people in their congregation to trained mental health professionals, if they feel that they may need it.

Mental Health Ministry in the Church

Even though there are more resources available to those who are struggling with their mental health, it can still prove to be a while before someone is able to see a professional therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist . Therefore, it can be helpful for leaders to set up a mental health ministry in the congregation. For religious leaders who may be wondering how they can begin this process, it might be a good idea to first see if anyone in the congregation has experience with mental health treatment. Then, it could be helpful to rely on these individuals to advise on mental health ministry or provide training sessions. That way, religious leaders can go a long way in helping make sure that there are individuals in the congregation who are always willing to help people that may be struggling with their mental health.

When it comes to running a mental health ministry group, it might be worth considering the option of relying on outside resources to promote continuing education. For example, there are plenty of faith and mental health podcast options out there that religious leaders may be able to use to learn more about mental health treatment. By taking a comprehensive approach to mental health, and providing people in the congregation with access to more resources, the church might be able to further support those in need.

Mental Health Awareness Sermons

Finally, it can be helpful for religious leaders to understand that there are lots of people who still struggle to talk about their mental health with other people. Therefore, religious leaders might be able to remind members of their congregation that there is someone there who is always willing to listen. This is where mental health awareness sermons can be helpful. By making this a part of mental health church ministry, the congregation will be able to provide people with a wide variety of mental health church resources.

Sadly, there are still a lot of people out there who are struggling with their mental health, and they may not realize that there are valuable resources available to them. When congregations discuss mental health on a regular basis as a part of their sermons, they are able to let these people know that someone is there who is always willing to listen. This may encourage them to open up to their religious leaders, providing them with access to the help that they need. In this manner, congregations might be able to make a significant change in the lives of the members of their congregation. Any religious group may be able to benefit from exploring mental health awareness options.

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