Frazer Church will host a Mental Health Summit on May 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. called Faith Meets Mental Health
Go to www.frazer.church/mentalhealth to register for the free event. Registration for lunch is possible until 11 May.
The keynote speaker at the summit is Nate Stewart, founder of the Mental Health Pulpit.
Mental Health Pulpit began in early 2019 in response to what Stewart saw as specific challenges to the Church, including a lack of support and education in response to mental health needs.
“It was, and still is, my belief that the biggest hurdle to supporting mental health within the church comes in the form of stigma,” he said. “For years, there have been common misconceptions about the causes of, treatment, or even existence of mental illness. Because of the stigma surrounding mental health, there are people everywhere who suffer in silence, never getting the help they need because they don’t feel safe talking about it. The church should be a safe place where people can talk about anything.”
Mental Health Pulpit works to give a voice to those who struggle, equip churches with the resources they need, and spread the message that having a mental health struggle does not exempt one from the love of God.
Prior to Stewart’s keynote address, Alabama Commissioner for Mental Health Kim Boswell will speak and Saddleback Church’s Kay Warren will deliver a message via video.
The afternoon will consist of five simultaneous breakout sessions aimed at teens and parents; women and mental health; substance abuse and recovery; men and mental health; and a session aimed at pastors and church leaders.
The Hope City Counseling of the River Regions will provide an afternoon presentation on suicide awareness.
Stewart and his wife Sherawn will close the summit by talking about the caregiver role.
Stewart said that in recent years, many churches have come to see the need to address mental health, but often get stuck at that step because they aren’t sure where to start or understand what the role of the church should be in providing of support.
The mental health pulpit has helped provide churches with a starting point to begin the process.
“One of my favorite parts of these types of events is community development. Faith leaders coming together to address the mental health crisis we face is incredibly beautiful. As someone who has struggled with my mental health for over 36 years, the hardest part has always been the isolation I’ve felt,” Stewart said. “Feeling alone is devastating. Churches coming together to say I’m not alone, they see me, and I’m important to both God and them…that’s a message of hope.”
Frazer communications director Kym Klass said Frazer has several goals for the summit.
“Our summit will share messages of hope. It will give us tools for living with mental illness, caring for someone with mental illness, and walking alongside those who are in pain,” Klass said.
Klass said teens and parents, pastors and church leaders, and those recovering from substance abuse would benefit from attending.
“We hope to emerge from our apex as a community that reaches beyond our own walls and lives to let those in pain know that we love without judgment. It’s our belief that people crave community and know they have somewhere to go, and someone to turn to,” she said.