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Building Bridges – Psychiatry and the Church

On May 20, the Saturday before APA, the Psychiatry Section and Pastoral Staff of Saddleback Church co-sponsored a forum designed to explore and support mental health initiatives and programs within the Saddleback Community.  The forum was called Building Bridges – Psychiatry and the Church. Saddleback staff participating in the forum included Pastor Randy Craft, Lay Leader Bob Baker, and other members working within the mental health ministry of Saddleback church. Psychiatry Section members participating included Doctors Brian Briscoe, Barney Davis, Nadine Nhyus, Scott Hellard, Dawit Amare, Mike Tramell, Tom Okamoto and Esther Currie. All are medical doctors certified or specialized in psychiatry.

The morning was spent in training as the doctors and Saddleback staff discussed various areas and conditions of mental health and the church’s role in treatment/support. The afternoon was a question and answer session where Saddleback staff and the doctors fielded questions from the audience related to counselling, parenting children with mental health needs, recognition of mental health issues, suicide, burnout, and the stigmas associated with Christians seeing psychiatrists.

An agenda is provided as an overview of the day. Audio and video files are provided as described below. Please note that the videos were not professionally produced. Speakers are occasionally out of the field of vision.

MORNING SESSION

A robust discussion by Psychiatry Section doctors and Saddleback staff on the most common mental health conditions and their prevalence in the church. Irma Placencia of the Children, Youth and Prevention Behavioral Health Services of Orange County California, provided an overview of the programs and support opportunities they provide and how to reach out and secure their services.  Audio and video are provided below.

Morning Session (Audio):  This is a running audio of the morning session in its entirety.

Mental Health and the Church -Mental Health 101 (Video). A robust discussion by Psychiatry Section doctors and Saddleback staff on the most common mental health conditions and their prevalence in the church.  Believers and church staff are confronted daily with personal mental health needs as well as the needs of those around them.  How do we remove the stigma of seeking and offering mental health assistance and how do we show grace and love each other back to mental health?  It is never a simple process and one that routinely requires a church family/team consisting of counselors, support groups, psychiatrists and others.  The church can and needs to be a major player in mental health management and recovery.  Lay leaders were provided insights into what they need to know and how they can be more effective in their care of those with mental illness.  

Saddleback Resources (Video).  Pastors and lay leaders from Saddleback church provide an overview of the church’s philosophy and resources regarding engaging and supporting those with mental illness.

Orange County Mental Health Resources (Video).   Irma Placencia of the Children, Youth and Prevention Behavioral Health Services of Orange County California, who provided an overview of the programs and support opportunities they provide and how to reach out and secure their services.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Doctors and Saddleback staff answered questions posed from attendees.  The order of questions and answers as they were fielded is provided below.  Audio and video are provided below. 

Afternoon Session (Audio):  This is a running audio of the afternoon session in its entirety.

QA-1. Family Doctors and Psychiatric Medications (Video).  Many people receive psychiatric medications from general practitioners and not psychiatrists.  Please address the wisdom in seeing a family doctor versus seeing a psychiatrist and accepting the protocol and how does the church enter into the decision.  Speakers: Briscoe, Amare, Nyhus, Davis, Okamoto, Currie, Tramell, Hellard, Saddleback Staff.

QA-2. Parents and Difficult/Dangerous Children (Video).  What do parents do who have children who are often out of control and may be a danger to the parents and/or to themselves?  Speakers: Okamoto, Tramell.

QA-3. Christians and Psychiatrists (Video).  How to soften the blow and effectively communicate when a counselor should suggest someone see a psychiatrist? Speakers: Davis, Saddleback Staff, Briscoe.

QA-4. Suicide Management (Video).  Suicide rates seem to be going up, what is the reason and what should we be doing about it or watching for?   Speakers: Amare, Nyhus, Saddleback, Okamoto, Saddleback, Hellard, Amare, Baker, Saddleback Staff, Davis.

QA-5. Believer’s View of Suffering (Video).  What does suffering have to do with anything?  Speaker: Nyhus.

QA-6.  Addictions and Management (Video).  How do you help people who have addictions and hop from one addiction to another? Speakers: Saddleback Staff, Briscoe, Hellard, Amare, Nyhus, Briscoe.

QA-7. Healing, Scripture, and Psychiatric Medications (Video).   How would one speak to a conservative Christian who believes they should be able to overcome their mental illness through Scripture and without medication.  Speakers: Hellard, Davis, Nyhus.

QA-8. Counsellors and burnout (Video).  When should counselors be concerned with burnout?  Speakers: Nyhus, Okamoto, Saddleback Staff, Nyhus, Saddleback.

QA-9. What Now (Video). Close-out of the forum.  Speakers: Okamoto, Saddleback Staff.