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Jim and Heather Sells: How Churches Can Make a ‘Tremendous’ Difference in Alleviating Our ‘Mental Health Crisis’

“The idea that we want to communicate to the broader culture is a paradigm shift, a way of rethinking the way we deliver care.”

“I am trained to treat the more severe [cases]. But the community I can oversee to address the daily human need…that can be addressed in just good relational presence.”

“I help a lot in terms of redirecting, but I’m only one hour a week at best. And what do people do for the 23 [hours] and six days? Well, they’re in their community. They’re in their homes, they’re with their friends. They’re engaging in good or bad strategies that have an ongoing accountability. And it is in that ongoing accountability that the church exists in its strongest form.”

“There are aspects of psychopathology that are not going to get better. But we can live well with this. And that’s where the church can come in and provide a tremendous level of support…So the church takes on a massive role potentially in going back to what its original calling was, to offer hospitality.”

“I can’t love someone well. I can help them with an empirically validated intervention. But it’s not really loving them. It’s not really standing in the midst of their ongoing pain.”

“We are collaborating together, the church and the profession, triaging and supporting one another’s respective needs.”

“It goes both ways where the clinician, secular or faith-based, needs to have the community of churches by which anybody that they see is tied to someone that has depth, that has width and breadth to be able to render support long, long beyond the clinical hour.”

“Every church cannot do everything, but the community of pastors in any community, there are enough resources to address every type of need.”

“This affects everybody. And everybody has a commitment to bring care to the broader community.”

Key Quotes From Heather Sells

“What’s exciting for me is to see that a lot of churches and organizations and faith-based leaders are already doing work in this space. It’s more at the organic, bubbling up level. It’s not on a national scale, but it is happening.”

“Pastors, we don’t want to add to your plate. We want to relieve your burdens as well…it can also just happen around a simple consult where a pastor talks with a therapist about someone in their congregation. They give them a few ideas, and the pastor is able to effectively deliver some care.”