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We hear about it so often in North America — many, many people struggle with mental health issues. The church has a unique role to play in this health crisis. Does your church offer or connect people to any mental health resources? What do these resources look like? Are they available for young adult / teens?


Our church is part of the "Counselling Assistance Program" (CAP) through the Shalem Mental Health Network (we're in Ontario). This gives members access to up to 6 sessions with a licensed Christian Therapist for free in a confidential manner (the church never knows who has accessed services). We also have a number of "blank" spaces which can be offered to non-members as well. It's helpful to have as a resource, because it reduces the obstacle of cost for talking to someone with more training than the average person in church. It's also surprisingly cost-effective.

Our church, Intersection Ministries in Holland MI, and a number of other churches in the Holland area have trained members in Companionship. The mental health care system is overwhelmed with need, and many studies show that compassionate presence can be crucial to someone in distress, which is exactly what Companionship trains people to do. I highly recommend Companionship training for congregations so that many people can be better equipped to care for people in distress. (Full disclosure, I'm a Companionship trainer, and president of the board of Companionship’s parent organization, Pathways to Promise.)

I've been a licensed Marriage and Family therapist for over 23 years and have been Christian Reformed all my life.  I offered to teach a mental health class in a CRC church I recently started attending a few months back.  The answer was "no";  we have enough classes already. (None of them address mental health)  

In previous CRC churches, I offered the same and was approved.  One class in particular was highly successful with attendance and discussion about mental health and related topics to mental health, such as abuse in the church, addictions, and issues with abuse of power among CRC leadership.  

I remain perplexed why this church leadership would refuse my offer, unless the leadership themselves fear their own mental health needs and those they worship with, fear what could result by opening up this kind of discussion, and if this is protection for abusers in the congregation.

Thanks for the posting of this question.  


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