20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. That’s 1 in 5 of us!
As so many know, it can be a dark and lonely experience for individuals and families who are affected.
Christians are not immune to this kind of suffering, but there is HOPE. As we live in the tension
between the reality of pain and suffering, and God’s ongoing redemptive work in our lives.
The Church has a unique role in offering spiritual care, dignity, and hope for those who are suffering because of mental illness.
We are called to be a safe place for those who are marginalized to turn to when they need care and support.
Past Seminars and Conferences
Hello Darkness….A Conversation about Sadness and Depression
In the winter of 2017, Drs. David and Nicole Reist joined us for an evening of discussion about sadness and depression. They offered a unique perspective, presenting the idea that sadness is a normal and even helpful experience. They noted that many of us are quick to avoid or escape it, but that sadness can be a gift, offering us the opportunity to slow down, grieve losses, and create space for self-reflection, prayer, and lament. They explained how sadness plays an important role in deepening our relationships, and highlighted the importance of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in a way that invites others to care for and support us during difficult seasons. They explored what wisdom scripture has to offer about sadness, considered the question of how we can learn to engage sadness in a productive way, and also shared some of their knowledge on how to recognize when sadness becomes stuck or unhelpful, and how to work through more serious difficulties like depression.
Breaking the Silence
In the fall of 2016, we took a simple, but powerful step, towards breaking the silence that surrounds mental illness. We gathered together for an evening of stories…stories of challenge, stories of courage, and above all, stories of hope.
Why? Because many people suffer in silence. Afraid to share their story. Held back by stigma. Ashamed to admit that they are struggling with mental illness. And yet, they are not alone. In Canada, in any given year, 1 in 5 of us will experience a mental health or addiction problem. And every single one of us have someone in our lives, whether we know it or not, suffering because of mental illness.
We have started talking about Mental Illness at North Park because we want those in our congregation who are impacted by the pain and stigma of mental illness to know they aren’t alone it, and that their church community is here to offer them care, support, and a place of belonging and welcome. Above all, we want them to know that there is hope. We believe the Church is called to shine a bright light of encouragement and hope into the lives of those who are suffering. Depression. Anxiety. Psychosis. Addictions. Eating Disorders. Suicide. No one should walk through these challenges alone.
Breaking the Silence was an encouraging and meaningful night of stories that told of the hope God offers in the midst of our suffering.
A Beautiful Mind
In April of 2016 we held a seminar series to help us better understand mental illness, and further explore our role as people called to care for those who are suffering. Trix van Egmund, from the Canadian Mental Health Association joined us to help us learn more about some common mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Guest speakers came to share stories of how their lives have been impacted personally by mental illness. And we took some time to explore the Church’s role in caring for individuals and families who are suffering because of mental illness.
Click here to access available notes from the seminars
Mental Health and The Church’s Mission
In October of 2015, we held a conference on Mental Health and the Church’s Mission, featuring Amy Simpson, and Drs. David & Nicole Reist. It was a meaningful time of learning as we gathered from across London and the surrounding area to better understand mental health, and to explore how the Church can grow to become a safe and caring place for those who are suffering because of mental illness.
Click here to access Session 1: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission with Amy Simpson*
Click here to access Session 2: Toward a More Welcoming Church with Amy Simpson*
*Video footage can only be accessed by a limited group of people: those who attended the conference, and those who are part of the North Park Community Church congregation. Footage from day two will not be made available due to technical difficulties.
|Amy Simpson is an editor at Christianity Today, leading publishing efforts with Gifted for Leadership and serving as senior editor of Leadership Journal. Through her personal experience, she has developed a passion for helping the church and mental health professionals work together, serving both those who suffer from mental illness as well as their family members. She has also served as vice president, publisher, editor and director of the church ministry media group at Christianity Today.|
|Dr. David Reist is a registered clinical psychologist, having earned a doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. David has practiced in a variety of settings, but for the past 7 years has been in private practice, in London. Dr. Nicole Reist is a registered clinical psychologist, having earned her doctorate of philosophy in clinical psychology (Ph.D.) from the University of Windsor. Nicole has practiced in a wide range of clinical settings, but for the past 6 years has been in private practice in London. They serve a diverse population of individuals and couples with a variety of psychological issues. Their practice is centred in compassion for all human beings, and an openness to integrating spirituality with scientifically informed psychological treatment. Together they are passionate about helping faith communities begin to find ways to embrace and engage our common brokenness, particularly in the area of mental health and illness. They are proud parents of two spunky and imaginative daughters.|
|Drs David and Nicole Reist|
Below is a list of Community Partners that joined us at the October 2015 conference.
Addictions Services Thames Valley – www.adstv.on.ca
Beyond Child’s Play – www.beyondchildsplay.ca
Canadian Mental Health Association – www.cmha.ca
Celebrate Recovery – www.celebraterecovery.ca
Family Services Thames Valley – www.familyservicethamesvalley.ca
London Pregnancy and Family Support Centre – www.lonpfsc.com
The Navigators Resource Centre – www.navresources.ca
Recovery Canada – www.recoverycanada.org
Road to Hope – www.emmauscares.com
Salvation Army Centre of Hope – www.centreofhope.ca
Teen Challenge – www.tclondon.ca
Crisis Support in London
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, the following resources can connect you to in-person, telephone, or online help, and are available 24/7. If the crisis you are experiencing is life-threatening, call 911 for immediate help.
The Mental Health & Addictions Crisis Centre
648 Huron Street
Open 24/7 for walk in crisis assessment and support
Connects to a mental health and addictions professional who can provide information, resources and crisis support
At North Park, we provide our congregation with prayer support, spiritual care, and practical helps to, as well as referrals and support to help connect to mental health professionals in the London community.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, there are many options to find the help that you need. Reach out to your family doctor, make an appointment with a mental health professional such as a psychologist, social worker, or psychotherapist, or contact one of the many community agencies that offer support for mental health.
211 Ontario is a helpful resource that can help you identify community supports that are available in the London area. Dial 211 or go to www.211ontario.ca