/Wednesday, September 30, 2020
How do I talk about the impacts of COVID without talking about COVID?
To be perfectly honest I’m tired of COVID, of hearing about it, seeing it in every mask and hand sanitizer pump and especially I’m tired of feeling it.
I’m over feeling exhausted.
I’m over feeling anxious about making the right decisions for my kids.
I’m lonely and craving relationships and gatherings and drawn to addictions like food and screens.
And I know I’m not alone in this.
Look at the Numbers
Just look at these numbers. A CDC study analyzed 5,412 survey respondents between June 24 and 30th and 30.9% said they had symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Roughly 26.3% reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic and another 13.3% of respondents said they have turned to substance use to cope with stress from the pandemic.
In response to this pandemic, researchers are suggesting expanding access to social supports, treatments and harm reduction services as the mental health impacts of COVID will outlast the physical impacts.
Ugh… that’s a punch to the stomach.
Our communities are hurting. And let’s be honest, we as leaders are too.
What do we do?
But what are we to do about it when all resources (money, energy and volunteers) are exhausted and already stretched to the max?
Are our churches ready, willing and able to offer hope and strength to our communities inside and outside the building?
One thing I know is that whatever we do to meet the need in our homes, churches and communities needs to be easy, accessible and simple.
Let me tell you about our resources at Hope Made Strong and two more for you to begin developing the capacity to reach those who are struggling:
Hope Made Strong
Hope Made Strong offers an online course called Finding Hope in Helping that builds resilience in ministry leaders to overcome and prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. They also provide foundational support training for ministry teams offering practical skills for supporting others called The Caregiver Toolbox. You can use the code OUTREACH20 for 20% off course!
This is an organization that is positioned to serve churches seeking to become more intentional and effective in ministry with children, teens and adults impacted by mental illness, trauma, and developmental disabilities. They have a ton of resources that are specifically for churches and give you a step-by-step implementation plan. You can access their Mental Health Resources HERE.
Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries
This ministry offers an incredible small-group curriculum. This is a free 8-week study that is fully digital and requires no previous training, but just a willingness to learn more about faith and mental health. You can access Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries HERE.
Church Mental Health Summit
Also, in anticipation of the increased need in our communities, we, at Hope Made Strong, are producing a free virtual Church Mental Health Summit on October 10th (World Mental Health Day).
This virtual summit is focused on equipping you to support the mental health issues facing ministry leaders, churches and communities.
Speakers will be addressing 4 tracks:
- Global Health: Addressing cultural impacts and those who serve in missions around the world.
- Community Health: Equipping churches to support those struggling with mental health in their community.
- Church Health: Building a church culture that supports and serves mental health through programs.
- Leadership Health: Strengthening leaders’ mental health and addressing issues around compassion fatigue and ministry burnout.
At the Church Mental Health Summit, there are 60 practitioners and industry leaders from around the world bring you relevant and actionable tools.
Now is our opportunity to build resilient leaders and equip our teams to meet the growing need for mental health in our communities.
*Registration for the live broadcast event on October 10th is FREE. There is also an option to buy an All Access Pass, which gives you access to the free event + all the replays of all the content/sessions. Outreach Canada is an affiliate partner, so we will receive a small commission if you sign up for the All Access Pass using the above link.
Laura Howe is our guest blogger, and the founder of Hope Made Strong. With over a decade of experience as a registered social worker focused on mental health and addictions, Laura combines her skills with a passion for equipping and strengthening church leaders. Her online learning and in-person presentations create conversations that lead to hope, strength, and resilience in leadership. Laura equips staff and volunteer leaders with practical, scripturally-based strategies that align with proven results in the mental health industry.