Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mental Health Panelists Sought

:: Reposted from our YahooGroup::

Hi there,

This message is a call for panel participants for the mental health panel. By now most of you will have registered, and I’m hoping a few people will step forward to help make this panel possible. As of today I haven’t received many inquiries about serving on the mental health panel at the Gathering and am looking for presenter.

I’m a consultant who provides technical and project management services to non-profit organizations, including the local schizophrenia society. I’ve written public health fact-sheets on psychosis/schizophrenia and manage an online support group for family members/supporters of persons with a mental illness. However, I’m not a one-woman panel.

Here’s some ideas to hopefully suggest topics or people within the community who might have something to say for this panel. I’m looking for priest/esses who’ve had experience providing pastoral care to or received enquiries from persons with a mental health concern or mental illness, or for persons who’ve found their Pagan faith or practice helpful in managing or coping with mental health issues (e.g.: depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress) or mental illness and would like to speak about this process on the panel.

What I see as an issue and have encountered once as a priestess is that people who are experiencing hallucinations or delusions might be particularly drawn to us given that our Pagan worldview is often more open to ideas of unusual psychic powers or experiences. As Pagans our belief system often includes believing that we do have some extra-sensory powers, ability to shape outcomes by magic, and a belief in psychic abilities. This can mean that a person who is experiencing a brain illness might seek us out to talk to about what they are experiencing, as they know we’re not going to dismiss their experiences out of hand. I thought we might have a discussion on how to tell a person is not having an actual psychic experience but something due to a brain illness, and if so how to handle it (that topic I can help with).

Probably more commonly, some of you might have experienced your faith being helpful in healing post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety in yourself or coveners?

Are there any priest/esses out there planning to attend Gaia Gathering who’ve had coveners with mental health issues that would be willing to talk about it on the panel (keeping details confidential of course) in a panel on mental health issues and Paganism?

Blessed be,


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