Building Healing Communities
Your Church and Mental Health
A mental health resource for faith communities by
Joel Hutton, MSW, LCSW
owner and therapist at
To activate the Church to respond to the mental health needs of its leaders, members, and community with kindness and compassion by providing greater understanding, reducing the stigma of mental illness, and utilizing Biblical keys to promote acceptance, patience, and unconditional support; these are the building blocks of creating a healing community.
"So many have allowed stigma and fear to prevent acknowledgment that mental illness exists within the walls of churches. The silence sends a clear message that God is not interested in their suffering, serious problems have no place in the church, and our faith has no answer for hardships like theirs."
- Amy Simpson, author of Breaking the Silence: How Your Church Can Respond to Mental Illness
Research tells us that social support is the second most important factor for the recovery, healthy progression, or ability for an individual to manage their mental health needs. Social support is second only to the intensity and pervasiveness of the individual's mental illness.
If researchers are correct, then the Church is in a unique position to be an instrument of hope and healing for their leaders, members, and community.
For Church Staff
Increase awareness of mental health needs, define support and the importance of support to the individual, and establish a new approach for addressing mental illness within community life.
(Ongoing staff support and/or training workshops)
Promote a culture of acceptance and support of those with mental illness, train members how to approach the subject of mental illness, and increase awareness of mental health needs through open dialogue.
(Ongoing congregational resource, training workshops, and/or short presentation during service)
Contact Joel Hutton
Joel Hutton empowers communities across the state to better understand mental illness and socially accept and support individuals with mental illness. The focus of his presentations, workshops, and trainings is to increase awareness of mental health needs, define support and the importance of support to the individual, and establish a new approach for addressing mental illness within community life.
Joel is a Clinical Social Worker and owner of Indy Therapy and Counseling. He received his degrees from Indiana University and wrote his thesis on the benefits of social support to individuals suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been married almost ten years with three amazing children.
Joel has regularly attended, been a member, served in leadership and/or served in partnership with many different Christian faith denominations: Baptist (multiple branches), Christian Church, Church of God (Anderson and Cleveland), Charismatic movements, Vineyard, Methodist (United and Free), Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, non-denominational, Wesleyan, and Episcopal. He has found great comradery and connection with authentic Christ followers within each sect. Joel has served overseas in Thailand, India, and Guatemala; and has most recently served as Worship Pastor of Town Center Church, affiliated with Church of God, Anderson.
The presentations, workshops, and trainings do not reference or discuss any widely disputed doctrinal differences; rather Biblical focus is directed towards community life and service.