Mental health for congregations, clergy and mid-councils

Resources for Mental Health Ministry


Steps Pastors and Congregations Can Take to Prepare for Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19

Produced by Presbyterian Mental Health Ministry for Mental Health Month going forward.  Experts predict a wave of mental health impacts from COVID-19, and in times of crisis many people turn to faith communities and leaders for support. Practical steps faith leaders can take to prepare themselves and their congregations.

Mental Well-being During a Pandemic

Tips on promoting mental and spiritual well-being in the pandemic and coping with emotions of stress, fear, and panic from the Presbyterian Mental Health Network. 

Building Resilience Webinar from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

One-hour program designed to increase participants’ understanding of their own signs of stress and teach in-the-moment tools to engage the relaxation response in body and mind.  Two versions (general audiences, faith leaders).

Live Faith Leader Support Webinars

In addition to the Building Resilience webinar, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance can offer a live webinar to groups upon request. These webinars can be tailored to the group’s needs, with PDA offering a panel of presenters to respond to issues that may include self-care, changing needs of ministry in this time, and responding in times of stress, trauma and bereavement.

Presbyterian Board of Pensions COVID-19 Resources

Tips for managing anxiety and fear in adults and children with information about Employee Assistance Program counseling sessions for church employees with qualifying medical coverage through the Presbyterian Board of Pensions.

Online training resources for pastoral care providers


Trauma Pastoral Care Series from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (training videos)
Series of 15 videos intended for pastors caring for those experiencing human-caused trauma or experiencing trauma themselves.  Not all will apply to the current context, but they offer helpful information about the dynamics of trauma, compassion fatigue and resilience.

Psychological First Aid Online Training
Six-hour training focused on trauma and principles of psychological first aid in the context of a disaster, appropriate for clergy and volunteers in disaster agencies. (free)

Online training resources for everyone


Mental Health First Aid Training (virtual training option coming soon)
Eight-hour training for the general public to acquire or refresh basic knowledge and skills needed to understand and intervene in a helpful and role-appropriate way when someone is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis.

 QPR Suicide Prevention Online Training
One-hour basic training in suicide prevention for members of the public. Longer, specialized modules also available.

Red Cross Mental Health First Aid for Coronavirus Online Training (free during the pandemic)
One-hour online course designed to help individuals build resilience and support themselves and lend support to others during and following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resilience stories to uplift and inspire


If the Trees Can Keep Dancing, So Can I: A Community Poem for Coping in Crisis
Audio-clip and text of crowdsourced poem about grief.  NPR’s poet-in-residence Kwame Alexander pointed to Nancy Cross Dunham’s poem, “What I’m Learning About Grief,” and asked that submissions begin with those same words.

Pandemic — a poem by Lynn Ungar, March 11, 2020.
Reframing social distancing as a time to reach out with words, love and heart.

Lessons of Empathy and Uplift from Covid-19
“Look for the helpers,” Mr. Rogers’ mother would tell him whenever his family learned about difficult news. Amid the serious challenges involved with the coronavirus pandemic, the world has many good people who want to help. Helpers might include first responders, volunteers, doctors or community members. All the NewsHour videos in this lesson feature different kinds of helpers, all with uplifting or empathic stories. Developed by PBS.

Mother and Daughter Brief but Spectacular Moment:  Bonding with Family and Friends During the Pandemic
Medical student daughter and certified nurse practitioner mother reflect on bonding with their family and friends during the pandemic. (PBS Newshour)

A Humble Opinion on a Successful Post-pandemic World
Author Kelly Corrigan relies on a familiar mental exercise when the reality of the crisis feels like too much to handle. She shares her humble opinion on imagining a world after the pandemic — and how the experience might change us. (PBS Newshour)

The Story of Captain Tom
Story of Capt. Tom Moore, a British war veteran, who at age 99 walked the length of his garden 100 times to raise money  for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). He turned 100 on April 30, 2020, having raised more than 30 million pounds.