By Cathy Murphy, Director of Community Outreach
Many people with mental health conditions, including suicide risk, often turn first to their faith community for help. On Thursday, March 30th the North Fulton Mental Health Collaborate will lead a panel discussion surrounding mental health and the important role of our faith communities.
Spirituality and Mental Health
Many turn to their faith community for support in dealing with mental health problems. Supportive relationships, such as family, long-term friendships and meaningful connections through faith can be important to building resilience and well-being. Faith communities can also play a key role in educating their members about mental health problems.
Culture and Mental Health
Culture can provide a lens for how people think about mental health and how people and mental health professionals interact with one another. Racial and ethnic minorities bear a greater burden from unmet mental health needs due to the stigma surrounding mental health in their culture. There is also a racial/ethnic inequity within the mental health workforce. Just this month, Rep. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, was able to get a last-minute amendment to H.B. 520 that would require a workforce study commission to examine cultural competence and language to better understand how the state can meet the mental health needs of Georgia’s diverse population.
Educate your communities and congregations. Promote awareness by educating the members of your communities and congregations about mental health issues through educational forums and other opportunities.
Identify opportunities to support people with mental illnesses. Religious organizations can play an important role in supporting individuals living with mental illnesses and encouraging them to seek help.
Connect individuals and families to help. Strengthen the connections within your community to mental health services and support and enhance linkages between mental health, substance abuse, disability, and other social services.
Promote acceptance of those with mental health issues. The voices of leaders and members of faith-based organizations can greatly influence attitudes about mental health conditions and those who experience them.
Join us on Thursday, March 30th from 10:00-11:30am at Alpharetta FUMC, 69 North Main St., Alpharetta to be a part of this important discuss. Learn more about the event and our panelists on our website at summitcounseling.org/collaborative.
Information from mentalhealth.gov/talk