- Clergy participating in the Conference health benefit program through Wespath have access to eight counseling sessions per member of the household, per issue, per year. Participants can choose from a list of in-network providers or access an online therapist through Talkspace. Additionally, through Wespath all clergy are able to access free financial coaching support through Ernst and Young.
- Reflective supervision gives clergy a safe space to explore in depth specific challenges they are facing within their ministry and/or personal life. Participating clergy meet with one of the trained supervisors for approximately 90 minutes every 6-8 weeks to reflect on an issue of their choosing.
- The Art of Well-Being became one of our Conference’s primary resource for clergy-well being. Led by Reverend Dr. Vicki Johnson, The Art of Well-Being course utilizes a “coach approach” process in which the primary resource is the internal wisdom and expertise of participants rather than prescriptions from a teacher.
- Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare offers employee assistant program (EAP) services to clergy who are not on the Conference insurance. This plan covers individuals under appointment who have waived healthcare coverage, those who are not eligible for health benefits, and retirees. The plan covers the appointed/clergy individual and members of their household. This plan offers 8 counseling sessions per member of the household, per issue, per year. Participants can choose from a list of in-network providers or access an online therapist.
- Steal Away Women’s Ministry, led by Paula Smith (Elder, Gordon Memorial UMC), hosts workshops and retreats to inspire, equip and empower women to live holistically—in mind, body, and spirit.
- Day 7 is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization that provides nonprofit and ministry staff with self-care resources in order to alleviate burnout, promote individual and organizational health, and support a more effective and sustainable service. Founded by a TWK clergy, Day 7 provides personalized care plans that target emotional health, physical health, spiritual health and mental health.
- Many clergy serve as certified spiritual directors and clergy coaches.
- Every seven years, clergy are eligible for and encouraged to take a sabbatical.
The Cabinet, led by Bishop McAlilly, has called attention to the importance of mental health care. This work accelerated in 2020 with published posts on the Bishop’s blog and video interviews between the Bishop and Dr. Cynthia Davis. Individually, District Superintendents have furthered this work in their approach with their clergy. In 2023, the Cabinet is participating in trauma-informed education.
Triumph Over Trauma is a free, 7-week psychoeducational program that aids people on their journey to recovery. Developed by Extension Minister Neelley Hicks in partnership with the National Association of State Mental Health Program and Harper Hill Global, Triumph Over Trauma seeks to train faith communities in addressing trauma in their congregations. The curriculum adapts the Trauma, Addiction, Mental Health and Recovery curriculum and provides a Christian supplement. Volunteer facilitators are trained and equipped to lead a gender-separate group of no more than 15 in a creative, faith-affirming way.
Covenant Entities, such as Project Transformation, Miriam’s Promise, and Hannah’s Hope provide trauma-informed interventions to clients in the community. Miriam’s Promise provides training on trauma-informed adoption and parenting. Project Transformation’s trauma informed approach to serving young people integrates social emotional learning and restorative practice. More than 300 young adult alumni, as well as laity and/or clergy from more than 50 partnering churches have received some level of introduction or training on childhood trauma through Project Transformation.
Methodist LeBonheur has partnered with churches to provide mental health training to the community. The Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network (of Methodist LeBonheur) seeks to connect resources, reduce the stigma around mental health and engage in advocacy. They offer free depression and anxiety screenings.
Several churches in the TWK have addiction and recovery ministries. These include: St. John’s UMC, Fresh Starts, Hermitage UMC, McKendree UMC, Milburn UMC, Concord UMC, Fulton First UMC, and Jacob’s Well. Some use the model of Celebrate Recovery, others participate in the state-sponsored congregational recovery network. In addition to offering direct addiction and recovery ministries, many churches in our connection are home to recovery small groups such as GriefShare, Divorce Care, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Al-Anon Family Groups, and Sexaholics Anonymous (SA).
Local churches across the TWK engage in mental health support in a number of ways. Some churches house an external licensed counseling center, such as Brentwood UMC and Belle Meade UMC. Some churches have hosted mental health trainings by community health professionals, such as Mumford UMC, Broadway UMC, and Franklin First UMC. Some clergy have offered sermon series on holistic health, such as Belle Meade UMC. Some churches offer grief services, especially around the Christmas season. It is unknown how many churches in the TWK offer a specific mental health support to their congregation or community.
Many of our churches offer ministry and congregational care through Stephen’s Ministers.
UMCOR and our TWK disaster relief efforts include a social-emotional care component to address trauma and grief.
- Church and Society works to advance policy and congregational education around our shared United Methodist social principles. One of their key areas is mental health.