Mental Health Forum

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MINT HILL, NC – Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 3-9 this year; September is Suicide Awareness Month. It is a tragedy that these realities impact so many of us. The National Alliance for Mental Illness reports the following statistics:

1 of every 5 US adults live with a mental illness

1 of every 8 ER visits are for mental illness or substance abuse

1 of every 6 youth between ages 6-17 have a mental health disorder each year

50% of mental illnesses begin by age 14

Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the US and 2 nd leading cause for those ages 10-34

90% of those who die by suicide have a mental health disorder or signs of mental disturbance

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US and worldwide according to Mental Health America’s recent data, 56% of adults with mental illness do NOT get treatment. Approximately 50% of incarcerated persons in US jails and prisons have a mental illness and adequate treatment is lacking.

The Covid 19 pandemic has had a very detrimental effect on mental health such as significant increases in mental health symptoms, difficulty accessing treatment, increased risk for mental illness symptoms post-Covidien persons without prior mental health disorders, and poorer outcomes for those with mental illness. TheCovid 19 pandemic has also raised awareness of disparities in the health care system.

Faced with this sobering situation, how can the church help those who are affected by mental illness? What do persons affected by mental illness need from a faith community? Can the church actually do harm to persons with mental illness? These are some of the many topics that will be discussed on Sunday, October 3, 2021, 7:00 PM at Matthews United Methodist Church 801 S Trade St, Matthews, NC during our “TransformingMinds: The Role of the Church in Mental Illness. Our speaker will be Dr. Todd Clark PhD, VP of Operations of monarch, who serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of Minds Renewed, an NC-based consortium of mental health, clergy, and other professionals from across the country whose motto is “A Christlike Response to mental Health”. Dr. Clark has an extensive background in behavioral healthcare and often speaks to church communities about the role of the faith community in mental illness. His presentation, “What is Mental Illness and How are Other Churches Around the Country Helping” will include a discussion of mental illness from biblical and scientific perspectives.

Following Dr. Clark’s presentation, mental health providers from our Charlotte community will join him for a panel discussion. Dr. Gina Duncan is a psychiatrist with Eastover Psychological and Psychiatric Group who has a great interest in the integration of mental health and faith; she serves as an advisor to Minds Renewed. Mr.Tony Marciano is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission whose ministry is transforming the lives of those recovering from addiction. Dr. Robert Dodd, owner of Level Ground Christian Counseling and a former pastor, ministers to those dealing with mental health issues as a clinical psychologist. Mrs. AllyciaBrown, an educator with Charlotte Christian School and owner of AR Brown Life Consulting will moderate this distinguished panel.

Amy Simpson, an editor for Christianity Today and author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’sMission, has described mental illness as the “no casserole” disease in the faith community. If someone is diagnosed with a physical disease, parishioners are quick to call and bring food. However, when someone is hospitalized for mental illness or a family member dies by suicide often the phone is silent and no one reaches out. Those whose lives are affected by mental illness are waiting to be included and embraced by their faith community.

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