Close to 7,000 Christian counselors and other mental health professionals gathered for a three-day meeting in Nashville last week to discuss the “epidemic” of suicide in the church and other contentious issues, such as race and refugees, the Christian Post reports.
“There is only one institution you’ll find in every community around the globe, and it is a place of worship. Faith matters when it comes to addressing mental health. Faith matters when it comes to racial reconciliation, and faith matters when it comes to the epidemic of suicide,” said Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors on Thursday.
“We believe that faith and mental health are indispensable. We understand ourselves and our clients better through the lens of faith and communities of faith are in a position of being ‘first responders’ to those struggling with mental health; they are often the ‘first line of defense,'” he continued.
Clinton further insisted that the mental health community doesn’t have to be in conflict with science, and said that faith is often the missing component to address society’s biggest issues.
The gathering launched some important initiatives, such as a major suicide prevention effort, along with training “first responders” at churches to provide humanitarian assistance to the thousands of refugees that are set to come from Syria to America in the next year.
Notable Christian figures, such as Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren, have said that the mental health system in America is broken, and have encouraged Christians to embrace the millions of people suffering from different mental illnesses.