The annual Faith & Mental Health workshop, formerly known as Caring for Your Congregation’s Mental Health, began in 2002. It is now offered in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. This workshop in the spring is designed to educate clergy, lay leaders, chaplains and other leaders within area faith communities on important issues related to the mental health of their congregations.
In addition to helping break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, it provides science-based information along with resources. For more information, call 918.585.1213 or 405.943.3700. You can also email us at email@example.com.
Mental illness is not only a physical and emotional struggle ― it is a spiritual struggle as well. Individually and collectively, we can pray for those who struggle. Specifically, we can offer a prayer that joins with someone, seeking to quiet their fears, prayer that reaches beyond judgment to love and hope is helpful and comforting. That’s the kind of prayer that someone struggling with mental illness needs in moments of despair.
It all comes down to these three elements:
1. Inclusion — Reach out to those you may find uncomfortable to encounter.
2. Compassion — Take time to talk with them and really listen. Meet them where they are and share the journey with them.
3. Empowerment — See others as people first and encourage them to draw on their own strength and resilience as they move toward recovery.
Whether or not you are part of a faith community with a mental health ministry, people of faith are called to point the way toward recovery for people who are struggling and to help build a bridge. Further, we are called to journey with those who are struggling, not only to the place where they can get help but through the morass of pain and suffering to healthier terrain. We are called to be companions on the journey.
Typically, members of a congregation genuinely care about one another and journey with one another through struggles of all kinds. With regard to people living with mental illness, making room for safe and inclusive conversation about depression, anxiety, and other struggles is a good next step toward embracing those living with mental illnesses.
There is a lot we can learn from the perspective of our many faith communities across Oklahoma! First and foremost, no matter what religion we look to for insight, they each emphasize the power of reaching beyond our own anxieties — beyond the stigma of mental illness — to see the human-ness and worth of every person.