The Lutheran Foundation and The University of Saint Francis presents the Gateway to Hope series which offers strategic solutions and expert resources to assist the local church, other helping professions and concerned individuals in providing support and compassionate assistance for people living with mental health challenges.
Gateway to Hope offers a three-fold toolkit of resources for a faith community’s mental health ministry in helping to build and restore lives to health and wholeness.
Empower Training (11/13) Free (underwritten by The Lutheran Foundation)
10:00am – 12:00pm: Recognize and Refer
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch
1:00pm – 1:30pm: Concert by Addison Agen
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Relate and Restore
Transform Training (11/14) $20/person
10:00am – 12:00pm
A Letter from Dennis Goff, M.Div., D.Min., Director of Ministry Programs at The Lutheran Foundation
If you attended the Speak Up Conference last November, you heard Dr. Matthew Stanford tell a story about a couple who came to see their pastor for counseling because of the wife’s overspending.
The husband shared that in a matter of two weeks his wife maxed out multiple credit cards and literally spent everything they had. In desperation, the husband made an appointment with their pastor and explained what was happening. The pastor asked the woman about her spending habits. She responded, “Everyone charges too much on their credit cards. It’s no big deal.”
The pastor concluded the problem was obvious – she simply didn’t know how to manage the resources God has given to her family. He recommended they both enroll in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class, which they did. However, two weeks later she had a psychotic break and was hospitalized. Once hospitalized, she was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Although she never had a manic episode before, this explained her excessive spending habits.
What the pastor didn’t ask the husband when they came to his office was, “What was your wife like before this spending spree?” If he had, the husband could have shared that she had always been rather frugal when it came to spending. Nor did the pastor ask, “Has she ever had any mental health problems?” If he had, the husband could have shared that she had episodes of depression in their relationship, most notably when she was in college.
This couple didn’t seek help by going to a mental health care provider because they didn’t know there was a mental health problem. Instead, they went to their pastor. And while the pastor tried to provide conscientious pastoral care, he missed identifying a potential underlying mental health problem. As a pastor myself, I can see how easily this situation can happen. Most pastors have not received clinical training in identifying mental health issues.
Next month, Dr. Stanford, and members of his staff, will return to present a training event called Empower where you learn how to “recognize” mental health issues, how to “refer” people with mental health issues to the right resources and care, how to “relate” to people effectively, and how to “restore” people with hope, dignity, and support.
Especially for people who work in a helping profession, to be able to recognize, refer, restore and relate with people living with mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis can truly be empowering. We hope to see you at this training event, Tuesday, November 13.