About 7,000 Christian counsellors gathered at the Be Strong National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from Sept. 23 to 26 where they discussed the growing “epidemic of suicide” in the church.
“There is only one institution you’ll find in every community around the globe, and it is a place of worship. Faith matters when it comes to addressing mental health. Faith matters when it comes to racial reconciliation, and faith matters when it comes to the epidemic of suicide,” said Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors on Thursday, according to the Christian Post.
Clinton said, “We believe that faith and mental health are indispensable.”
“We understand ourselves and our clients better through the lens of faith, and communities of faith are in a position of being ‘first responders’ to those struggling with mental health; they are often the ‘first line of defense,” he said.
He underscored that faith is often a missing component to address suicide.
Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren and other Christian figures said the mental health system in the US is broken.
“The sad fact is the mental health system is broken in the United States. I can’t say that strongly enough. It is not that people aren’t trying and not that there aren’t some really wonderful, compassionate people in the field of mental health, but the problem is complicated, and most of the attempts to help don’t always help,” said Warren, as reported by The Huffington Post.
He said, “The Church’s central commitment is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This should include intentionally coming alongside people living with mental illness and supporting their families. If the Church lives out its calling in this area, its compassionate voice will rise within the community, the nation and the world — extending an unwavering message of hope and acceptance for those affected by mental illness.”
SOURCE: Jonah Hicap