The Future of Mental Health Care: The ChurchMay 03, 2023
Originally published for Gloo
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
—Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV
Our Shared Struggle
We all have hurts and struggles. We're all on a healing journey toward our own psychological, spiritual, emotional, and relational well-being. We're all on a mental health journey in our search for peace and belonging.
We know that everyone experiences storms in life and that the need for mental, emotional, and spiritual healing in our churches and our communities is massive. Since the path to healing, wholeness, and flourishing must include the spiritual, the Church is positioned to be the “Psychospiritual” Emergency Room and ongoing support for people in need. But—how?
People in the church, congregants, and leaders alike, are looking for support for their mental health needs. There is an untapped potential in the church, as people look to their trusted leaders for a solution.
Churches and the faith community are—and will—continue to play a vital role in facilitating these mental health journeys by meeting this need.
We must do this by transitioning from simply “hearers of the word” into “doers of the word”: focusing on a whole life discipleship framework, nourishing not just the spirit, but also the body and mind. For a time such as this, in the midst of a Behavioral Health pandemic with an immense harvest in desperate need, sadly, skilled laborers are few.
Unleashing the calling and passion of people in the pews to contribute to the mental and emotional well-being of others is key to leveraging the big “C” Church capacity to step into and fill this huge gap. We do this by equipping mental health first responders (coaches) to serve as professional/clinical extenders who compassionately listen, carefully attune, simply assess to triage what level of resources are needed, and then refer accordingly.
That’s where the AACC comes in.
A New Mental Health Solution for Churches
Churches and their champions lie on a continuum of readiness. From one end “Don’t come yet because we may actually make you worse” all the way to “Come on in, Behavioral Health savvy is in our DNA, you are safe with us” on the other.
It is each church’s missional imperative to become “Behavioral Health Equipped and Ready.” To be not just hearers of the word but equip all to be doers of the word and to move forward as more consistent Godly decision-makers.
For almost all, they must leave their traditional institutional frameworks behind to hustle forward into this commissioning.
The American Association of Christian Counselors is the largest and most accomplished faith-based mental health organization. AACC is committed to equipping Christian counselors, licensed professionals, pastors, and lay church members with knowledge and training to aid in ministering to “hurting persons” so they can “help them move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence, mental stability, and spiritual maturity.”
To date, over 10,000 churches have enrolled to become Certified Mental Health Coach First Responders.
A Partnership of Possibilities
Gloo and the American Association of Christian Counselors are entering a partnership to help advance the role of the Church across our country to address the mental health crisis in our culture.
Gloo is a new kind of outreach platform that helps Christian churches reach more people in their city in a way that saves you time, activates your team, and increases your impact. Online campaigns on Gloo are designed to help behavioral health-ready churches reach people who are dealing with things like depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, relationships, marriage, faith, and more—and deliver them directly to you. This is where the mental health coach's role becomes critical.
By combining the crucial expertise the AACC delivers with the reach Gloo has, this partnership has the potential to change many, many lives for the better.
Together, the AACC and Gloo will help churches and their pastors, staff, and volunteers become informed, equipped, trained, and behavioral health ready.
Together, Gloo and the AACC will reach and connect people from the community (we call them Explorers) who need psychological, emotional, and spiritual help to a behavioral health-ready church and their mental health, first responder coaches.
Serve Your Community
Our goal is to reduce the burden of our mental health catastrophe by connecting the massive mental health need in the community to an army of behavioral health-trained and ready coaches across a vast network of churches in every corner of this country. Together we will serve more people with mental and behavioral health needs and see more lives transformed.
Once a church is equipped with the training provided by the AACC, they are ready to take the next step and connect with their community. Getting set up with Gloo is the best way to make that happen. Plus, Gloo is a great way to connect with your people.
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Insightful articles from a variety of experts on topics such as depression, psychosis, trauma, caregiving, mental health, and suicide prevention.