As part of the ongoing celebration of May as Mental Health Awareness month, WellStone partnered with the Huntsville Association of Pastoral Care to host a seminar on Saturday May 21 entitled “Mental Health: A Guide for Serving Persons of Faith”. Frederick Woods, a local Clinical Chaplain, Professional Pastoral Counselor, and Certified Addictions Counselor, facilitated the event that brought 30 people to the WellStone campus from several different church congregations located across the Tennessee Valley.  Chaplain Woods reminded those in attendance how important an accepting faith community is to the recovery journey of those with mental health disorders and he provided excellent guidance to anyone who is trying to help someone through a difficult time. Jared Roe, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Crestwood Hospital, shared information about the hospital’s exciting new outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. Rita Limbaugh, Training Director with WellStone Behavioral Health, led a group discussion on the challenges associated with merging faith and mental illness and also gave an overview of the local course she leads called Mental Health First Aid.

Julie Langford was on hand to represent the Huntsville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and provided valuable information about local support and resources available to  families impacted by mental illness. Several people shared powerful stories of how churches had helped their loved ones with mental illness and/or addictions.  Thanks to Chaplain Woods and all participants for making this a meaningful event and thanks to our local communities of faith for reaching out to the “least of these”.