I was recently meeting with leaders of a local church to discuss supporting people at the intersection of faith and mental health. As part of the meeting, one of the leaders shared his own story of recovery amidst a very challenging past. In looking back at the experience, he emphasized that “it wasn’t positivity that brought me freedom, it was Jesus”. Drawing this distinction between inner positivity and an external Jesus revealed a concern some people of faith have with the mental health field. The concern is that mental health professionals emphasize internal dispositions like positivity, peace and hope while ignoring the reality of an external God who brings rescue from outside us. To be sure, some mental health professionals may feel a bit uncomfortable with the very specific claims made by these leaders. We professionals look for general patterns of recovery from research and experience that each person can adopt regardless of their theological beliefs. We professionals want to work with anyone, whether they be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist or agnostic. There is something important to be said for each of these professional instincts and the ways faith communities can benefit from them. However, what my interaction with these leaders reminded me of is the professional danger of narrowing reality and recovery. We may be so focused on what research says about the resources inside of people that we lose sight of a very real resource coming from the outside.
David Eckert, Director of Intersect
Below are resources for the purpose of wellness, education, and service.
Faith and Mental Health Summit
Intersect, in association with Upper Perkiomen Community Church, will be hosting a faith and mental health summit this September.
What are the challenges in talking about and taking care of the mental health of our communities, churches, and ourselves? How can we do better? Let’s talk about it!
Event Title: Equipping for Life at the Intersection
Event Date: September 30, 2023
Event Location: 258 Main Street, East Greenville, PA 18041
What Can Psychology Do for Ministry? | Presented by Blueprint 1543
How can psychology help the church? In April 2023, Blueprint 1543 convened a group of experts, who have a long history of connecting the tools of psychology with ministry. This video highlights some of those voices and projects, including the work of Intersect.
Multi-Faith Coalition Event: Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention
Building Bridges Series
Thursday, September 21st, 2022
2:00PM - 3:30PM
Virtual Meeting via Zoom
Join us as we come together to explore the important role that faith communities play in supporting mental wellness and improving suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention efforts in our community.
2:00 - 2:10 | Welcome & Opening Remarks
2:10 - 2:55 | Panel Discussion
2:55 - 3:25 | Resource Highlights
3:25 - 3:30 | Wrap Up & Closing Remarks
*This schedule is subject to change.
A Celebration of Life
Wednesday, September 20th, from 7:00PM to 8:30PM
In honor of Suicide Prevention Month in September, the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) is inviting you to participate in an open discussion about suicide prevention on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The event will focus on issues concerning suicide and mental health within the faith community with a panel of experts offering insights and information regarding suicide.
Looking for a way to help those in your community?
Intersect: Community Needs Facebook Group
This Facebook group functions as a care portal for faith communities who are looking to meet local needs in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. We will post needs specific to the individuals supported by Access Services. These may include needs for relational support, material resources, and/or monetary donations. We encourage you to share this page with your family and friends. While we started this page to provide concrete service opportunities to local faith communities, we encourage any community members who are interested in giving back to join!
- Have you ever felt mental health professionals have narrowed reality and recovery? If so, how?
- In what ways can people of faith benefit from professional research into human patterns of thinking and behavior?
Do you have something to contribute or a question to ask?
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