Baptist Health is focused on dispelling stigmas surrounding mental illness


On June 30, at the last ONE by ONE Public Education Forum focused on mental health issues, many participants suggested the importance of reaching out to faith leaders to help spread the word about existing resources so families can have better access to mental health services.Also, faith-based leaders can play a role in removing the stigma about mental health issues too. Many children and their families don't access mental health services on time due to social stigma, among other factors. That's why we invited Baptist Health to share information about their upcoming Faith and Mental Health Conference on September 12. - Maira Martelo

Today we welcome guest blogger, Cortney D. Surrency of Baptist Health, who is writing to share information about free community event to dispel stigmas surrounding mental illness.

The connection between Faith and Mental Health has been a long debated and controversial issue. “Depression can be prayed away” and “Religion is irrational and outdated” are only a couple of the myths about mental illness that have been perpetuated by both people of faith and behavioral health practitioners. More recently, faith and clinical worlds have been collaborating to build a good working relationship. Join Baptist Health for a community conversation that will further recent momentum in efforts to bridge the gap between clergy, faith leaders and mental health professionals.

The Faith and Mental Health Conference takes place on Saturday, September 12, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Schultz Center located at 4019 Boulevard Center Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207.  The goal of the Faith and Mental Health Conference is to dispel stigmas associated with mental illness and show that it is as real and treatable as diabetes.

Some breakout sessions include:  

  • “Toolkit and Local Mental Health Resources and Programs” - Participants will receive a Northeast Florida community resources kit and discuss how to effectively use it.  

  • How do You Know When You’re In Over Your Head?” - This session is for clergy and health ministry workers who are often the first responders to their congregants’ health concerns. The panelists will provide coaching on how to deal with mental health issues in their congregations and when to bring in a mental health professional.

  • “The Connection Between Faith and Mental Health” - This session will give panelists a chance to share their individual views and will engage participants in a discussion of how the role of religion in mental health is changing to form a partnership.

The Faith and Mental Health Conference is free, and you can register online here or call Baptist’s Social Responsibility department at (904) 202-3013.  The first 150 people to register and attend will receive the companionship series of books on starting a mental health ministry in a faith community.  For questions, email  

Cortney D. Surrency, Community Partnership Coordinator

Baptist Health




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