Help for Churches to Respond to the Growing Mental Health Crisis is Here

Among those who seek treatment for mental illness, 25% first seek help from a member of the clergy – do you have what you need?

One in four people are affected by a mental health challenge at some point in their lives, yet the stigma surrounding these experiences often prevents faith communities from responding compassionately and effectively. How can your church become a sanctuary—a place where individuals living with mental health challenges feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging?

I would love to see your church or ministry inspire and equip your congregation or staff to learn about mental health and how you can offer practical support, becoming a true sanctuary in your community. The Sanctuary Course was created to equip the church, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, both in and out of the church. 

The Sanctuary Course

Our friends at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries have released a revised and improved version of their flagship resource, The Sanctuary Course. This course is available now, free of charge on an all-new online resource portal. 

The Sanctuary Course includes an eight-session small group study guide that explores key mental health topics and introduces meaningful ways to support recovery, offer companionship, and promote wellbeing for individuals facing mental health challenges. 

Why does this matter, right now?

  • More than half of Canadians (54%) say their mental health has worsened over the past two years. 
  • Among those who seek treatment for mental illness, 25% first seek help from a member of the clergy.
  • A survey conducted by WayBase identifies mental health as one of the most important felt needs for churches across Canada.

Since its original launch in 2018, this program that I am so grateful for has helped more than 165,000 people in over sixty countries reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by equipping churches and changing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours towards people living with mental health challenges.

“I know from my own experience of leading a church that these resources have the potential to offer hope and healing to the whole body of Christ. And in this way I believe these resources have the power to strengthen communities, to strengthen faith, and to save lives,” says Daniel Whitehead, CEO of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.

As a gift from me to you, here is a link to download Sanctuary’s Five Actions You Can Take Today which outlines simple steps you can take to begin having conversations about mental health in your faith community.

It is my prayer that faith communities will become the sanctuaries of hope and care that they were designed to be, as they take hold of use and share The Sanctuary Course. Our communities need us to do this, now more than ever.

Ellen Graf-Martin