The Mental Health team would like to thank you for your continued support of our congregation’s pursuit to explore ways of responding to those families struggling with mental health and challenges due to life circumstances. The team’s goal continues to be increasing awareness of mental health concerns and developing ways we can increase our comfort level of being a compassionate companion to those suffering.
A brief summary of the team’s efforts since June 2020:
- Applied for and received an $8,000 grant from PC USA Presbytery to explore ways of establishing a Mental Health ministry in our congregation and community
- Partnered with Pathways to Promise (P2P) (Not-For-Profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance for congregations interested in pursuing a mental health ministry)
- Worked with P2P to develop a Mental Health Survey to assess MH issues that are present in our congregation and community
- Multiple MH awareness presentations to community groups and hosting of two church services centering on mental health awareness
The following is a summary of the results of the survey. (A copy of the full analysis is available in the following link, hard copy available in the church office). Excerpts follow from P2P analysis of our congregation’s MH survey:
- Anxiety (65%) and Depression (51%) are issues present in those lives/family responding, similarly those responding are aware of Anxiety (62%) and Depression (56%) as being present in a member of the congregation or their family. 38% of those responding felt unsure how to support families struggling and 30% were unsure of where to refer someone for treatment.
- Areas with a high degree of concern as it affects society at large include Depression (63%), Drug and Substance abuse (54%) and Anxiety (45%)
- Stressors/life circumstances that are present in the lives of those congregants that responded to the survey included Chronic or Severe Physical Health problems (46%) , Chronic or Severe Mental Health problems (30%), Friends/Family with Dementia or Alzheimer’s (28%) and Financial Distress (28%)
- Questions relating to comfort level of responding to various situations of approaching individual who appear to be homeless, intoxicated, high on drugs, asking for money all showed a high degree of discomfort (ranging from 86% to 52%)
87% responding felt Mental Health 101 would be helpful in the congregation and 55% said they would be interested in taking this training.
As part of living the commitment to FPCY’s Mental Health Ministry, we provided Mental Health 101 training for the MH Team during the month of June. The executive director from Pathways to Promise was the instructor. He provided valuable insight into various mental health issues and reminded us all how vulnerable we are to stress and anxiety. He did increase our awareness and affirmed our congregations’ commitment to grow our capacity to support recovery and mental wellness.
An opportunity will also be extended in July and August for this same training to our congregation members.
As we strive for ways to bear one another’s burdens, please join us in praying for wisdom at each step in this process. We are grateful to have teamed up with experts in the field of mental health ministry, and look forward to the knowledge we will gain through that vital resource; for it can only serve to advance our goal of extending this ministry from our congregation to our community, embracing all with compassion and love.
~Sue Caruso, Mental Health Initiative Co-Chair