NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Park Hill Baptist Church, North Little Rock, will hold a mental health forum at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1. The event will feature a series of short talks by area professionals, addressing topics such as grief and loss, substance abuse, suicide and more. A time for questions and answers will follow.
The theme of the event is Changing Attitudes.
Garrick Conner, discipleship pastor at Park Hill Baptist Church, said the idea of “changing attitudes” refers to two things: (1) how the Church’s attitude is already changing in regard to ministering to those with mental and emotional issues and (2) how the Church needs to help change others’ attitudes and fight the stigma associated with mental issues.
The forum will emphasize how churches can help those with mental illness, and it will highlight area resources like support groups and counseling services.
Conner said through the forum, they want to provide an opportunity “to speak to hearts that are struggling.”
He said he thinks “churches should be a first line of emotional and spiritual help for people at crisis points.”
He explained that not only do people struggle with issues like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but also they struggle with things like parenting issues and life adjustment issues due to loss or divorce.
“I see counseling as part of a larger discipleship process in our lives,” said Conner. “It’s about discovering where grace meets life. … I think we learn a lot about God through situations that we would never ever choose for ourselves.”
Conner said the mental health forum will coincide with the Nov. 30 Sunday school lesson in LifeWay Christian Resources’ Bible Studies for Life curriculum series. The lesson focuses on mental illness and the Church.
“Those who are walking through valleys in life are not alone, and as churches, I think we have a responsibility to provide encouragement, support and resources designed specifically to meet needs spiritually, emotionally and mentally in the lives of our members and in our communities,” Conner said.