Faith & Mental Health: Better Together
The conversation between mental health professionals and faith leaders is continuing in the Jacksonville community at Baptist Health’s third Faith & Mental Health Conference held Nov. 4. The purpose of the conference is to explore ways for faith and mental health professionals to work together to improve the overall mental health of residents in our community.
“We all have the same goal: to restore well-being and recovery to help people with mental health issues lead productive lives,” said keynote speaker Glenda Wrenn, MD, assistant professor of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences for Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She stressed the importance of creating a community where it is easy for people with mental health issues to find help.
“We have to step out into the community to make an impact to walk people out of the darkness,” Dr. Wrenn explained. If mental health issues are not addressed in a community, Dr. Wrenn said that we all lose. “The person with the mental illness loses and the community loses because that person is no longer able to be a productive member of society,” she said.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams (pictured above), who is committed to making sure all police officers are trained in handling mental health crises, also spoke: “We need better systems, better access and more awareness when it comes to mental health needs.”
Mental health is one of Northeast Florida’s greatest needs, according to the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment. In response to the community’s need, mental health is an issue that Baptist Health champions not only through its extensive network of behavioral health care professionals, but also through community outreach for those who don’t have access to behavioral health services.
Conference participants received a link to Baptist Health’s Mental Health Toolkit, which lists community resources and other helpful information about mental health. For access to the toolkit, go to baptistjax.com/toolkit