Published on February 2, 2016 by Jack Brymer  

Almost daily, ministers and church lay leaders encounter church members with a variety of personalities. Many struggle with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.  Others face more serious challenges such as bipolar and other personality disorders that affect their behavior. Most suffer quietly, but some with bursts of emotion that effect their behavior.           

Where can these people turn for help?  

One of the most available resources is the local church, and the pastors and lay leaders whose ministry and desire is to help people.  

A goal of the “Mental Health Matters: Pastoral Ministry to Hurting People” workshop is to address such questions and concerns. The workshop will be conducted March 14 in Cooney Hall, new home of Brock School of Business. It is sponsored by Samford’s College of Health Sciences and Samford’s Center for Congregational Resources. 

The workshop will be led by Samford faculty from departments within the College of Health Sciences. Each of these faculty is active in his or her own church, and several faith traditions are represented among them. 

Ken Stoltzfus, College of Health Sciences dean, will convene the opening session at 9 a.m., introducing a presentation titled “Deconstructing Mental Health: Understanding and Supporting Congregants Struggling with Mental Health Issues,” presented by Rachel Copeland and Gordon Bals.           

“Biological Basis of Mental Illness and Psychiatric Drug Therapy” will be led by Marshall Cates of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, followed by a presentation titled “The Mental Health Stigma” by Moniaree Jones and Christa Moore of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. A panel discussion with all morning presenters will close the first session.   

Following lunch, there will be breakout sessions with Samford faculty, led by Dr. Christson Adedoyin. The workshop will conclude with a presentation by Mark Gignilliat of Beeson Divinity School. 

Open to all clergy and church lay leaders, the fee is $20 and includes lunch, resource materials, and a book. 

For more information, contact Keri Burns at or 205-726-4064. 

Jack Brymer is a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.