MANA Helps Host Health and Wellness Workshop

By Pastor Jerit Lewis

On Saturday November 19th at 10am,  at the Prayer Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ 3550 Great Neck Road, Amityville NY 11701, several clergy leaders came together to address the elephant in the room that is often ignored every Sunday.

We all have experienced some form of trauma at some point in our life. The question is : Have we ever been treated? Given The increasing numbers of suicide and the evidence of challenges that people face in our community that often produce depression, anxiety and even anger. Let’s address the elephant in the room Mental Health 

Our Guest Presenter was Mr. Jeff McQueen Nassau County Director For Mental Health Association . Jeffrey McQueen, MBA, LCDC, is the Chief Program Officer for the Mental Health Association of Nassau County. 

Mr. McQueen is a combat veteran who has lived experience with multiple facets of recovery.  Prior to his journey in recovery, Mr. McQueen experienced several institutions battling emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. We learned :

-The Value of  Networking with Professional Clinicians 

– Mental Health Classes Available For Church Leaders

-How to identify signs and symptoms of Mental Health

We had the wonderful privilege of learning insight and a professional perspective in observing mental health. The session was filled with insight and principles about how the church and clergy leaders can collaborate with mental health professionals. As we know over the last few years there has been a Increase in Mental Health Awareness to deal with the difficulties that many have experienced in our communities.  The church must admit that this is a very broad topic. It is essential to refer to professionals to assist leaders as we categorize each case for the proper treatment. Mr. Mcqueen premised his remarks by saying he personally endeavors to see the hand of God help our churches work with the human hands of professional therapist counselors and clinicians. 

It is important to realize to understand that the majority of people in our communities go to our churches to find a place of solace, refuge and obtain pertinent information to help endure difficult times in their lives. Majority of the time in the mist of challenging times people go to the place they trust the most. Many people have come to the church for help just like 9/11. Where did your church members go to find help in the midst of this a pandemic?

As a mental health professional Mr Mcqueen highlighted the distinction of a mental health professionals vs a Spiritual Leader. Often the value of professionalism is overlooked. A mental health professional can assist with the right diagnosis, the right treatment and providing wholistic solutions that even provide food, clothing and housing.

Primarily it is vitally important to educate the church leadership and congregation on the signs and symptoms of Mental Health. It’s so important to provide connections with clinicians, therapist and mental health professionals who really care about the community not attempting to just provide billing without sincere care. 

We discussed 

-The Demand for Professional Services yet many churches are under staffed

-The Ratio of mental health professionals to the size of your congregation what is the Pastor’s or Pastoral Staff Caseload look like

-Wisdom in designing and implementing administrative structure to Counseling departments 

-How to make a confidential warm referrals to a Mental Health Professional that you can trust

-Wisdom in avoiding legal liabilities with providing counseling over Zoom Meeting 

-After the height of the Pandemic While many Bible Studies are decreasing there is a increase in number of Zoom Meetings providig services for grief, depression, addictions etc, after the height of the Pandemic.

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