25% of people who experience a mental illness in the U.S. say the first place they sought help was not a counselor's office, doctor's office, or clinic -- it was a local church. But many churches and church leaders say they are not adequately prepared to respond to these needs.
The Churches Care Program provides intensive training and support for Christian churches and church leaders to increase the Christian Faith Community's ability to support, assist, empower, and refer to effective mental health or addictions treatment, individuals and families in their congregations and communities who are in need.
Broader and deeper than 'Mental Health First Aid,' the Churches Care program will help you and your church support individuals and families with knowledge, understanding, reduced stigma, and hands-on strategies to promote improved long-term positive mental health and sobriety.
Currently the Churches Care Program is available in Pennsylvania through a joint initiative of Eastern Mennonite University and We Rise International, with support from the Lancaster Legacy Foundation.
Cost: $120.00/person includes the following components:
Here are more details on how the program builds churches' capacity:
15 hours of CEUs (recommend 2 church leaders per church attend. Pastors, lay leaders,
church-connected health professionals.)
o Increase your knowledge and skills in responding to mental illnesses and addictions
o Reduce stigma and strengthen the ability of your church to support people who are experiencing mental illnesses and addictions
o Provide effective referrals and partner with community services
Receive help on referrals, support strategies, and more.
All participants receive a copy of the book Streetlights: Empowering Christians to Respond to Mental Illnesses and Addictions written by We Rise International Director Janelle Bitikofer, and other resources to educate their congregation.
This brief confidential questionnaire helps your church identify areas of strength and areas for growth in the way your congregation perceives your church is doing supporting individuals and families experiencing mental illnesses or addictions. Your church will receive a confidential results report and an in-person consultation to help you understand and respond to the results.
Participating church leaders (pastors, lay leaders or health professionals) remain connected to others who've gone through the program, during and after the 18 months.
Lancaster, PA: February 20th & March 6, 2021.
Chambersburg, PA: March 13 and March 27, 2021
Philadelphia, PA: Fall 2021 Dates TBD
Registration for the Lancaster and Chambersburg 2021 cohorts will open January 2021 on the EMU continuing education website:
Click there to sign up.
increasing the capacity of communities to respond to mental illnesses and addictions.