Dr. Luther Smith, head of Calvary’s Biblical Counseling department, recently participated in a panel on mental health. The event, titled “The Elephant in the Sanctuary,” discussed how to address mental health within the church and from a biblical perspective. The panel was comprised of biblical counselors, pastors, and persons with advanced psychology degrees.
Addressing predetermined questions as well as fielding questions from the audience, Dr. Smith said the panel covered “the science behind mental illness and how the body of Christ can especially serve those who have particular mental illnesses… We also discussed the challenges of mental healthcare in society, the lack of resources.” Smith noted that, especially in more rural areas, “Some people can’t receive care.”
Esther McRae, a Calvary student who attended the panel, noted this as well. “One thing that came up was that insurance companies will pay for counseling sometimes, but almost never pay for Christian counselling.” Both Smith and McRae said one of the main topics of discussion was resources for mental health, and panelists covered several of the resources available to persons dealing with or who are close to someone struggling with mental health.
Smith was pleased by the turnout and the level of audience engagement. There were over 50 attendees, and “It was highly welcomed and highly received. I must have been there at least a full hour after we had ended with people asking questions.” Despite the good reception, McRae noted that some attendees were emotional, frustrated by the difficulties they faced in getting help for friends and family members. Smith said, overall, “I left thinking we have work to do.”
Videos of the conference can be watched here.