Book calls black church to engage families facing mental health concerns

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/31/20)—Drawing upon the biblical motif of the village well, where water is sought to sustain life, the book “Making Space at the Well: Mental Health and the Church” calls the black church to engage families who are facing mental health concerns. They are called to rally their historic resilience and creativity to do so.

Author Jessica Young Brown, Ph.D., uses the acronym SPACE to discuss:

  • Silencing the Stigma: naming the negative attitudes and mistaken assumptions about mental illness;
  • Presence and Persistence: identifying the importance of authentic relationships in healing;
  • Application and Action: highlighting practical steps to address needs as they emerge;
  • Cautions and Crises: acknowledging the fears and risks, including the importance of referrals; and
  • Expression and Exhortation: using the power of testimony to access the healing power of God.

Accessible to all church members, this book employs a framework of mental health, rather than mental illness. Presenting a research-based model of best practices in prevention and intervention, the book offers strategies and practices that can be adapted to all church contexts.

Brown is a licensed psychologist focused on the intersection of faith and mental health. She works to help individuals and organizations to seek wellness by exploring God’s intentions for us to be healthy and whole. She is director of the Barry Young Center for Ministry Formation and assistant professor of Counseling and Practical Theology at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, both at Virginia Union University, Richmond.

Founded in 1824, Judson Press is a publishing ministry of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches USA. It is committed to producing Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of individuals, congregations, communities and cultures.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.