10 Free Ways Your Church Can Stop Mental Health Stigma

Your church has made a revelation and decided that your ministry can make an impact in your community by addressing the issues concerning mental illness in your community. You’ve decided to head up this cause and while putting the pieces together will take time, strategy, and money, you want to get started right away.

Below I’ll be sharing some free ways your church can stop mental health stigma today so that when you do get a budget item, you can already show progress. Certainly, there are cheap options like the Church Mental Health Awareness Cards or social media marketing, but we will look into that in a future article.

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Christian Anger Management [Devotional]

In today’s society, anger is one emotion that is regularly not expressed well. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy notes there are typically three responses to anger which can all be unhealthy: fight, flight, or freeze. Further, with our digital era and social media, impulse control mixed with anger tends to lead to erratic and harmful words expressed. In most of these responses, communication breaks down quickly, feelings are hurt, and relationships become hurt or broken.

Anger disrupts family get-togethers that we are not allowed to discuss political or religious topics. Parents yell at six-year-olds for not doing a good enough job on the soccer field. It’s become a such a problem culturally that it is seriously impacting the development of our children and how they act in society.

Childhood disruptive behaviors such as anger outbursts and aggression are among the most frequent reasons for outpatient mental health referrals.

Behavioral Interventions for Anger, Irritability, and Aggression in Children and Adolescents.” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

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Free Resources from Joni and Friends

I’ve known about Joni and Friends for a while, though definitely not long enough. If you do not know anything about them, they are a Christian ministry which was started in 1979 based on the Luke 14:12-14 from Jesus which states:

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

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Mental Health Channel [Videos]

If you are wanting to educate yourself or others via some great web videos, a resource we have discovered that is supported by organizations such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness and fully funded by organizations including the original nonprofit The Greater Houston Community Foundation. It is called MentalHealthChannel.tv. Their goal is to create free videos on mental health that highlight personal stories to enlighten, inspire, entertain, and educate.

No this is not a Christian organization. But imagine having a mental health support group or small group at your church and wanting to show a brief video about depression or crisis intervention. You will probably find it here and it’s highly produced.

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Free 3-Month Weekly Digital Planner

Mental illness is not something that impacts only one’s emotional. It impacts an individual’s ability to think and be motivated, which can have a negative, domino effect on hygiene, physical health, work, school, and parenting performance, and ultimately a difficulty in accomplishing small goals as well. Severe mental illness can lead to a lack of progress towards life goals with relationships, career, and personal satisfaction.

(If you want to sign up for the weekly digital planner quickly, head to the bottom of the article.)

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We Are Guests In Our Patients’ Lives

One of the biggest difference between counselors and pastors is the role they play within an individual’s life. Of course, the objectives are different as well. One serves a clinical, evidence-based, structured interaction with an individual.

But how do the different organizations and the roles professionals interacting with individuals change from counseling agency to the Church? How do we need to look at them with the right expectations?

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Headspace App

If you don’t know, there is a really good application for mindfulness out there called Headspace. For those who like free, there is more than enough, but it has so much more than that. The idea behind Headspace is to help people to slow down, take a minute from the busyness of life, and reduce stress, improve relationships, as well as improve physical health.

These are a lot of great things for a clinical counselor who wants to help someone find coping skills for themselves (and all therapists should be aware and at least have practiced the techniques) but I think this also has an application for all Christians.

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Mental Health Group Training for Leaders [Videos]

I don’t know if we have said enough how much we love The Grace Alliance. (Their Instagram stories is enough of a reason to follow them) One of the big draws I have had to the site is their Training + Leaders section which is made available to you for free, even if you don’t purchase anything from them. Honestly, it’s the best Christian mental health group training I have ever come across.

Not only do they have the videos free, but the page also includes downloadable leader materials with all the details and training slides to give to your volunteers and team as well as free ongoing support through webinars, videos, access to Grace Group Leader Network.

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Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families [Book Review]

(This is a sponsored post with no restrains or impact on the review.)

The book Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families is part of the 5 Love Languages that was originally authored by Gary Chapman. This book looks at how parents of children with special needs can incorporate the 5 Love Languages into their parenting model to improve communication between spouses and better love their children.

The original book is a staple for people who want to better communicate with their spouses and has a soft integration of faith within it. From there, Gary has made a whole collection of books including for Children, Teenagers, Men, Women, Singles, and Military Edition.

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Empathy of Grief [Devotional]

Grief is a powerful emotion. It disconnects us from reality. It hits us at our very core where we feed the pain of loss and depression at the very heart of who we are. It can impact us out of nowhere in the sudden loss of a friend from a heart attack or a talk at dinner that your parents are divorcing. And you have so little control over grief as it slams into you, wave after wave of overwhelming sadness, frustration, and loneliness.

Yet, we have a community. For those who grieve, we can have hope in our fellow Christians. For those who support and grieve with us well, we will find rest. For us who can be that support, we may be the lighthouse that points people to Jesus as we care and listen to those hurting.

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