The Role of Mental Health in the Church
The Role of the Church in Mental Health Bradford M. Smith, Ph.D. Lausanne Senior Associate for Care and Counsel as Mission Director, Institute for International Care and Counsel, Belhaven University [email protected] Imagine a church anywhere in the world and the community beyond its walls… When Jesus saw the crowds, he… • Proclaimed the good news • Healed every disease and sickness • Had compassion on the harassed and helpless. • “The harvest is plentiful, the workers few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9: 35-38 • “The claim that Jesus is the truth must be demonstrated in the Christian praxis of attending to human pain and meeting human needs.” • Lausanne movement Theology Working Group Care and Counsel as Mission A story unfolds in four cities Reading, Massachusetts June 2007 • Gary Collins, Fred Gingrich, and I met • Struggled with broader term for “Christian counseling” The 3 Circle Paradigm of Care and Counsel* In support of missionaries. (Member Care) In support of the global church. (Christian Counseling) In support of the world. (Care & Counsel AS mission) *Smith, Collins, & Gingrich (2007) Gary Collins • “Working in the big circle is difficult and complicated theologically, culturally, and clinically. It is work that is not well understood and may be controversial. Perhaps that is why it is the circle that is talked about the least. It is the “counseling as missions” circle where few have dared to go but where a growing generation of younger counselors appears eager to penetrate.” Budapest August 2007 Budapest Lausanne Senior Associate Position Starts Saul Cruz and I met after 20 years Lausanne Senior Associate Post Begins Connecting with Saul Cruz Lausanne Consultation on Care and Counsel as Mission Mexico City 2009 January 5-9, 2009 Mexico City -holistic transformation -spiritual poverty -indigenous Christian approaches -Biblical social justice -the relationship of evangelism to holistic/integral mission. Cape Town 2010 •Christian counselors intentionally included for first time •Strong response to workshops •Day visit to HIV/AIDS ministry highly attended •Cape Town Declaration on Care and Counsel as Mission drafted 1.Christian 2. Holistic and Systemic 3.Indigenous 4.Collaborative 1. Christian “We are committed as part of the global Christian church to follow Jesus in serving all people worldwide in order that they may flourish in every way including psychologically and spiritually. We believe it is a matter of biblical justice that resources and initiatives which meet basic human needs and promote psychological wellness should be encouraged, nurtured, and distributed more equitably throughout the world.” An authentically Christian perspective on psychology will call us to compassion and the seeking of justice and reconciliation in our advocacy, practice, training, and research. Section 2: “Holistic and Systemic” Section 2. Holistic and Systemic God’s creation reflects a design of interdependent systems… Scope of Holistic Mission “Holistic mission is mission oriented towards the satisfaction of basic human needs, including the need of God, but also the need of food, love, housing, clothes, physical and mental health, and a sense of human dignity.” Padilla, Rene (2004). Holistic Mission. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 2004 Forum, Issue Group 4. Systems thinking “God’s creation reflects a design of interdependent systems and so we are committed to a global understanding of the whole person/system in the context of suffering and health.” Section 3: “Indigenous” Biblical Perspective on Culture • “Ethnic diversity is the gift and plan of God in creation. It has been spoiled by human sin and pride, resulting in confusion, strife, violence and war among nations. However, ethnic diversity will be preserved in the new creation, when people from every nation, tribe, people and language will gather as the redeemed people of God” -Cape Town Commitment “A fundamental task for indigenous Christian healers is to discern and engage with how God is already at work in each culture.” Section 4. Collaborative …a commitment to worldwide mutual empowerment and collaborative learning …a journey toward wholeness in which both helpers and the person/community in need are transformed Where from here? 1. Reduce stigma by educating pastors, church leaders, congregations, and communities 2. Integrate mental health into church health ministries or include both when starting up. 3. Advocate for the just allocation of resources for mental health at all levels. 4. Use comprehensive strategies that include a continuum of care: education, prevention, screening, support and group approaches 5. Offer services to the community as a witness to Christ 6. Collaborate with other community groups and agencies. 4. Use comprehensive strategies that include a continuum of care: education, prevention, screening, support and group approaches 5. Offer services to the community as a witness to Christ 6. Collaborate with other community groups and agencies. 7. Utilize task-shifting to increase resources by training laypeople and volunteers for appropriate work while providing supervision 8. Address social factors impacting mental health like poverty and racism 9. Include indigenous approaches to healing 10. Consider using available technology integrated with personal contact 11. Broaden training for counselors to include program development, community approaches, supervision. 12. Develop forums, networks, and partnerships for mutual learning and collaboration. Questions to think about… 1. What concepts from the Cape Town Declaration and the twelve recommendations particularly resonate with you? 2. What kinds of information and connections would help you in what you are doing?