Workshops for Churches

The Church and Mental Health

Workshops for Church Leadership

In order to care for the spiritual lives of those in our congregations, we must be prepared to address the challenges and needs that arise in their relational, emotional, and mental lives.  People often go to the church first when they deal with crises.  They may seek guidance from leadership or the issues may become apparent through interactions with other church attenders or in their responsibilities within the church.  In order to help people effectively as the church and as caring ministers and mental healthcare providers, we must develop a strong relationship between the church and specialized helping professionals.  The church can be a vital component to healing and we must communicate that those who may face mental health difficulties can find care and hope in the church.  We need not as churches just refer people out as if the church cannot be relevant in their time of need.  We also want to help by making professional care accessible sending the message that it is OK to get help and that God provides help to us through compassionate people who also have expertise that may be of help.

The Church Leader’s Guide

Responding to Relational and Emotional Crises and Needs

Often, people may maintain a reasonable level of functioning, but still be facing struggles.  But, functioning can become drastically impacted and family and those involved in the person’s life are greatly impacted as the issue intensifies.  We can care effectively by noticing the subtle signs of relational, emotional, or mental difficulties and by being prepared for the crises that require intervention.  The Pastoral Counseling Center provides training on the following topics:

    1. Recognizing the signs of emotional, relational, and mental health struggles
    2. Diagnosis 101- a summary of core mental health issues 
    3. Treatment 101 - a summary of the roles of different mental health professionals and their approaches to helping
    4. When and how to refer
    5. How to provide follow-up support
    6. Addressing mental health issues we all face with the broader church in worship and Bible study

Understanding Key Emotional and Relational Challenges

We provide brief summaries of the key symptoms of each of the following diagnoses and how they may intersect with life at church:

    • Depression
    • Substance abuse
    • Anxiety
    • Addictions
    • Eating disorders
    • Borderline Personality Disorder
    • Bipolar disorder

The program may be led in any of the following formats:

    • 15 minute presentation focused primarily on when and how to refer or focused on a specific issue 
    • Hour-long session providing a guide to responding to mental health needs
    • 2.5 hour session providing more in-depth background and application for specific mental health needs and challenges and how the church can respond

E-mail Dr. Brad Schwall for more information.