The Amberley Collaborative’s Mental Health in Congregations six-week online continuing education course launched in January 2021. We will repeat the course several times a year.
Guided by our interviews with leaders of 23 Waco-area congregations, we have designed an interactive course that addresses concerns most commonly voiced by the leaders we talked to. Participants learn about common mental health concerns, building congregations that support mental health, accessing professional help, assisting congregants who are in crisis, and fostering belonging for people with chronic mental health challenges.
Each 90-minute session includes both a professional expert and a lived-experience expert. The sessions are interactive and allow plenty of time for discussion.
Our goal is to develop a community of congregational leaders who support one another in building faith communities where everyone fully belongs, and to foster liaisons between congregations and mental health providers to strengthen connection and care for the many people in our community who are affected by mental illness.
Session 1: Introductory meeting; intro to mental illness (organizing presenter: Meg Wallace, LMSW; professional expert: Ana Chatham, LCSW)
Session 2: Understanding common mental health concerns (professional expert: Hannah Osborne, case manager at Methodist Children’s Home Family Outreach; lived-experience expert: Rae Jefferson on anxiety and depression)
Session 3: Building congregations that support mental health (professional expert: Amos Humphries and Nataly Mora, pastors at Park Lake Drive Baptist Church; lived-experience expert: Robin Wallace on grief and loss)
Session 4: Accessing professional help (professional expert: Stacey Steger, program manager over outpatient crisis services at MHMR; lived-experience expert: Lilly Ettinger on addiction)
Session 5: Congregational support for people who are in crisis or have chronic mental health challenges (professional expert: Grant Dooley, minister to youth, children, and families at Lake Shore Baptist Church; lived-experience expert: Meg Wallace on chronic mental illness and caregiver concerns)
Session 6: Additional topics as chosen by participants; next steps (organizing presenter: Meg Wallace; professional expert for the January–March 2021 offering of the course: Candi Cann, assistant professor of religion at Baylor University, on collective grief during Covid)
If you would like to learn more about this course, receive a copy of our Mental Health in Congregations survey report, or talk with us about the Mental Health in Congregations Initiative, let us know below.