From the Diocesan Committee on Mental Health

mental_health_photo2Are you prepared to lead and support your congregation, parish and community in the spiritual healing process in the aftermath of a tragic event? Recent murder–suicide events, such as those at Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary School, bring to the forefront the need for education and open discussion about mental health issues, and the role of the clergy, church leaders and the church community in the spiritual healing process before and after a tragic event occurs.

To assist clergy, church leaders and lay pastoral care givers, among others, in their efforts to have a meaningful dialogue on mental health issues, and suicide in particular, the Mental Health Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is pleased to announce the release of an adult education and discussion program, “The Church and Suicide: Compassion and Response” in both a DVD format and an online format. The program is based on the one-day conference on suicide awareness presented by the Mental Health Committee (Alexandria, Va., October 29, 2011). The program has four separate discussion modules and comes with a comprehensive Facilitator’s Guide.

Available to anyone conducting the education at no charge, the DVD or online module contains the speeches of four experts in various aspects of suicide that can be used in a series or as only one discussion. What is it like to contemplate or try suicide?  One articulate and sensitive professional tells us.   What are general issues a church faces around suicide.  Listen to a working priest.  Does the Bible or the Church condemn suicide?  Be surprised at the answers by a scholar/priest.  What can congregants or clergy do to prevent suicide or to heal the congregation?  Two suicide professionals, military and civilian, give pragmatic steps.

The development of this adult education program as well as the conference was funded by the Diocese.  To receive a free DVD of the program, or download the online version, please visit the diocesan e-Resources. You may also contact Dr. Paul Ackerman, co-chair of the Committee, at ackerman_paul@hotmail.com.  The Mental Health Committee intends to develop other education programs in the near future. To be responsive to your needs, it is important for our committee to receive suggestions and feedback. We welcome your input. Let us hear from you.

Posted by The Diocese

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