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Why Your Church Needs a Mental Health Inclusion Ministry


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In this "Ted-type" talk from the 2018 Wonderfully Made Conference, Dr. Grcevich argues for why churches should develop a mental health inclusion strategy.

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Why Your Church Needs a Mental Health Inclusion Ministry

  1. 1. Why Your Church Needs a Mental Health Inclusion Ministry Stephen Grcevich, MD Child and Adolescent Psychiatry President and Founder, Key Ministry Presented at Wonderfully Made Conference Grace Church, Overland Park, Kansas October 25, 2018
  2. 2. Building a bridge between two worlds…
  3. 3. The most common type of disability
  4. 4. Who’s missing from your church? • Children with depression are 1.73 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder are 1.48 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with anxiety are 1.45 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with learning disabilities are 1.36 times more likely to never attend church. • Kids with ADD/ADHD are 1.19 times more likely to never attend church. Whitehead AL. J Scientific Study Religion 2018;57(2)377-395.
  5. 5. One parent’s lament… “People in the church believe they can tell when a disability ends and bad parenting begins.”
  6. 6. Why is church involvement so difficult? • Attributes of common mental conditions cause difficulty functioning in common ministry environments. • Church culture – our expectations for how people should act when we gather together
  7. 7. Seven barriers to including families impacted by mental illness at church… • Stigma • Anxiety • Self-discipline (executive functioning) • Sensory processing differences • Necessary social communication skills • Social isolation • Past experiences of church
  8. 8. The foundation of Key Ministry’s mental health inclusion ministry model • Recognize non-essential attributes of our ministry environments, practices that make church attendance more difficult. • Implementation of a set of strategies across your ministry environments to welcome individuals and families into activities most critical for spiritual growth.
  9. 9. Seven strategies for promoting mental health inclusion (TEACHER) • Assemble your inclusion team • Create welcoming ministry environments. • Focus on ministry activities most essential to spiritual growth • Communicate effectively • Help families with their most heartfelt needs • Offer education and support • Empower your people to assume responsibility for ministry
  10. 10. Key considerations for an effective mental health inclusion strategy… • Mental health inclusion is a mindset – not a program • A good strategy benefits everyone and doesn’t require anyone to self-identify • No church will be able to include everyone with mental illness, but every church can welcome, serve and include more people with mental illness
  11. 11. Help from Key Ministry • Training • Conferences • Video training • Book study • Consultation • Available to church teams • Resources • Networking with other ministries • Social media, sermon videos, research to support your ministry • Support
  12. 12. Connect with Key Ministry • • Twitter: @KeyMinistry • •