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Promoting positive mental health and resiliency in congregations

Promoting positive mental health and resiliency in congregations

The Diocese of Texas, through the Episcopal Health Foundation, is promoting positive mental health and resiliency training through a program called “Living Compass.

The Rev. Bob Flick has been working with EHF to help interested congregations use Living Compass resources in their communities. He trained 25 members from Christ Church and St. Francis in Tyler to facilitate wellness circles in their congregation and community. Grace Galveston is also offering Living Compass with its congregation and in the community in partnership with a local nonprofit organization. Flick also facilitated a six-week series with Grace Houston to help EHF assess the program.

On March 18, St. John’s La Porte hosted Living Compass founder, the Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner for a Community Wellness Advocate training. In addition to 21 participants from St. John’s La Porte, 22 people representing eight additional congregations across the region attended. As newly-trained facilitators, they are now poised to offer Living Compass Wellness circles in each of their communities. On that visit, Rev. Stoner also met with Palmer Memorial leaders to help them think about how Living Compass could be used to create a community wellness center.

Living Compass gives congregations tools to get involved and support mental health in their communities, through advocacy, education, and support & inclusion.

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While many “mental health” programs focus on addressing mental illness, there is growing recognition that we need to advance positive mental health practices that increase resiliency to the stresses and mental health challenges we face every day.  One approach is to strengthen skills for creating spiritual and mental balance in our lives as congregants, and to share those practices with our communities.

Finding balance in life can seem difficult when things appear to hit us all at once. The Living Compass program was founded with the belief that faith communities can play a powerful role in supporting individuals, couple and families in the journey towards greater wellness.

The program was developed by the Reverend Dr. Scott Stoner, an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, psychotherapist and an attendee at EDOT’s October Clergy Conference; and Holly Hughes Stoner, a marriage and family therapist. The program is currently housed at the Nicholas Center at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and provides resources, education and support to congregations seeking to support whole-person wellness.

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Philip B. Spivey

Admirable ministry that is sorely needed. I hope their efforts include identifying folks who are impaired by chemicals (alcohol and other drugs), and arranging referrals for assessment and treatment.

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