Mental health issues are too prevalent for pastors to not be counselors. But they must do so wisely.
by Sarah Rainer
I write this blog with two things in mind: a) Help those with mental illness to receive proper treatment, and, b) Aid pastors that engage in counseling individuals with mental illness. This is not an end-all be-all formula, but provides basic guidance for pastors. With that said….
The church cannot ignore mental health issues. When approximately 20% of the US adult population and 15%-20% of the US youth population are suffering from mental health issues, there are bound to be members in almost every church that are suffering.
When church members struggle with mental health issues, they often first turn to their pastor for help. The pastor then has to decide what sort of counseling is appropriate for the presenting issue. Questions, such as, “Do I have training in this area?” and “What is my relationship with this individual?” should be circulating in the pastor’s mind. Some issues may warrant counseling solely conducted by the pastor, while other issues may require more expertise in mental health issues. So, how does a pastor know when engaging or continuing in counseling is appropriate or when a referral to a mental health professional should be made?
Read more at Christianity Today.