EHF’s Bob Flick leads clergy from several Galveston churches on a recent tour of mental health resource and service centers.
In EHF’s recent survey, mental health was one of the top health concerns raised by congregational leaders. In conversations with congregational leaders, EHF heard many concerns such as:
- the lack of availability to mental health care services
- little awareness of the existing resources that are available and how to access them
- an interest in learning more about how to recognize mental illness and effectively refer people to services when needed
- a need to de-stigmatize mental illness and support individuals and families dealing with mental illness more effectively
One survey respondent from St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Beaumont said, “Mental health issues go undiagnosed and treated until they are extreme. People just don’t know what to do. It is not easy to access care. There really isn’t ample care even for those who have insurance. Mid-income people struggle with this, too.”
In May, the Rev. Bob Flick joined EHF’s congregational engagement staff and he’s has been working to identify ways to address the interest in mental health within our congregations. Bob has a background in mental health as an Licensed Professional Counselor and previously managed public mental health services in Southeast Texas.
Bob recently led a tour of Galveston area clergy to visit the mental health providers on the island and make them aware of what services were available to the community and how to access them. Participants were introduced to providers and now have a much better understanding of who to call when they need to access mental health services for member of their congregation or community.
Bob has also been meeting with a group of congregations in the Northeast part of the Diocese to better understand their concerns around mental health and how we can partner with them to begin to address those concerns. Issues include how to reduce stigma around mental illness, lack of information about available services, and lack of access to mental health services.
EHF is also working to identify resources and materials from other organizations regionally and nationally that may help congregations. That information is currently being compiled for EHF’s new web-based resource center that will launch later this Fall. The resource center will include website links and materials from existing groups like the Hope and Healing Center based out of St. Martin’s Episcopal that provides support to congregations interested in mental health issues.