Synod to sponsor free workshop on mental illness

LCMS Life Ministry is hosting a one-day symposium, “The Church and Mental Health,” on Saturday, April 9, at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

mental-illness-INThe free event is designed to “provide resources for congregations and pastors who are helping families navigate mental illness,” said Tracy Quaethem, manager of the Synod’s Life and Health Ministries. It is open to anyone interested and includes lunch.

One in four adults — some 61.5 million Americans — suffers from some form of mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). And, notes NAMI, one in 17 — about 13.6 million — live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

The upcoming symposium will include an opening chapel service led by the Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus, LCMS third vice-president, a discussion panel and these presentations:

“We hope that this will provide a good starting point for families and congregations, and look forward to discussion and conversation beyond this one day,” added Quaethem.

For more information or to register, send an email to Quaethem at

Posted Feb. 9, 2016

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5 Responses to Synod to sponsor free workshop on mental illness

  1. February 10, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    Why not podcast or record this symposium and post the takeaway materials online? We are such a non-learning, non-sharing, non-best practices organization. Most of the useful information, practices, processes are lost, only to be recreated over and over again in isolated microcosms. WHY?

  2. Jane C. February 10, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    I am not a church worker, but a church member who suffers from major depression and find myself wanting resources from LCMS for myself, and for my pastors and my church. There is still a general stigma and misunderstanding, it seems, about what depression is and that “have faith” isn’t a one-size fits all sentiment. Dr. Peperkorn’s writings are wonderful. He cannot do it alone. As Rev. Mueller, above, commented, is there a way to live-stream, or podcast, or even post a video afterwards, and make the other materials available? If not to LCMS members, at least to pastors and other church workers? Then I could send that site info to my pastors, as I know they probably cannot attend in person (Colorado). Thank you!

  3. John L. Daniel February 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    As a former BOD member of both Synod and LCEF, a congregational lay leader and a pastor’s son, I have developed the following thesis – America’s Number One Problem is “undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues”.

    When I recall my board memberships and leadership responsibilities cited above, my thesis confirms the cause and enormous cost to our church of damaged relationships and lost treasure because of either ignorance or failure to treat mental health illnesses.

    I personally share this insight with large numbers of people and after only minimal contemplation, their response is almost universally one of acclamation. If programs like the planned workshop are confined to only those in attendance, this will likely result only marginal response to another synodical program that again gets filed in someone’s archive. The workshop can highlight an issue which will reveal the tip of a “killer iceberg”.

    The Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus is an excellent choice for the opening chapel service. I recall conversions with him about this topic. I know of his ability to verify the swath of destruction left by untreated mental health issues. It is an unending horror story.

    Please make every effort to use the available tools of technology including the use of the web to disseminated the deliberations of this workshop including proactive tools to assist and equip leaders in the church at every level, in developing their consciousness and skills to deal with mental health issues.

  4. March 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    I echo the previous comments: use the available technology for such a time as this. Having multiple family members with hereditary physical health conditions which impact their emotional and mental health, as well, I have become aware of this gap in ministry within the church-at-large.

    Chronic pain and fatigue impact the ability to engage in the fellowship of a local congregation. Invisible disabilities can be crippling. And once a pattern of non-participation is started, it becomes even harder to overcome.

    Worship and fellowship activities/schedules are not always accommodating.

    Gifts and skills may go unrecognized and underutilized and the gifts He has given may atrophy. Discouragement can set in.

    Make sure you get the input of those whom you are trying to help.

    • LCMS Church Information Center March 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      Thank you for your comments and suggestions. We plan to make audio files from the event available online sometime in early May.

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