According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, mental illness results in the largest number of disabilities in developed countries, surpassing even cancer and heart disease. Here in the U.S., one in five adults have a mental health condition – that’s over 40 million Americans. Compounding the problem is that of that number, 56% lack access to care.
Under the leadership of Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay, Saddleback Church has developed a powerful ministry tool for churches seeking to meet that need. Their Hope for Mental Health Ministry was created to equip individuals who are struggling with the tools necessary to fight their battles through sound, clinical counseling. Their holistic approach is based on five Scriptural truths called The Hope Circle: you are loved, you have a purpose, you belong, you have a choice, and you are needed.
Hope For Mental Health shows churches of any size how they can Walk, Crawl, or Run to create a mental health ministry strategy that can be developed over time, adapted, and integrated throughout all ministries.
Statistically, studies have shown that the first place people turn in times of crisis is to the church. Dr. Kenneth I. Pargament, an expert in the psychology of religion and spirituality says, “Empirical studies of many groups dealing with major life stressors and serious mental illness show that religion and spirituality are generally helpful to people in coping, especially people with the fewest resources facing the most uncontrollable of problems.”
Fortunately, many churches have seen the need for mental health supports and have added certified clinical counselors like Pastor Roy Dowdy, the Care and Counseling Pastor at Expectation Church to their staff. Pastor Roy blends nearly 30 years of ministry experience with a Master’s degree in Family and Marriage Therapy to provide hope and support. However, not all churches are able to bring on full time staff to fulfill such a role.
That’s why resources like Hope for Mental Health Ministry are vitally important. The starter kit contains multimedia materials that churches – no matter the size – can utilize to establish a ministry for individuals living with mental illness.