Event Recap: "Where Mental Health and Social Isolation Meet Discipleship"

On April 21, 2018, Missions Fest Vancouver and Sanctuary Mental Health partnered to host a seminar: “Where Discipleship Meet Mental Health and Social Isolation.” Ward Memorial Baptist Church (a Missions Fest partner church) kindly hosted the event.

The presenters at the event were:

  • Kate Dewhurst, Services Coordinator at Sanctuary Mental Health
  • Will Kozushko, Depression Advocate
  • Dr. Claudia Rossetto, Church Relations/Seminars Coordinator at Missions Fest

The workshop was in preparation for the 2019 Missions Fest Conference theme: “Mission: Discipling.” The purpose was to call for reflection and action around the intersection between Mental Health and Social Isolation. This initiative was also partly a response to the Vancouver Foundation question: How can faith communities better organize themselves to help create a more connected Vancouver? Jesus’ call to Missional Discipleship is good news to both social isolation and mental health challenges.

Each participant of the workshop was invited to share a word that came to mind when they hear Mental Illness and Social Isolation. These were the words:

overcoming, loving, passion, shame, pain, amigdala, stuck, hidden, beloved, normal, outreach, community, iceberg, compassion, loneliness, pervasive, sensitivity, education, misunderstanding, disappeared, aging/withdrawn, understanding, sadness, alone, voices, cherished, help, communication, support, awareness, tears, empowerment, trauma, fear, hope

The workshop introduced first the lethal danger of social isolation, the stigma around it, and the ways to help at a systemic and at an individual level. The second part was mental health literacy and the process of stigma in mental health. The third part was a brave and vulnerable story telling of a gentleman and his story of depression. His story was powerful. It educated and inspired many to share their own stories as a way to de-stigmatize mental health challenges. The fourth part was an opportunity for action and immediate engagement. Three organizations: Servant Partners, Metro Vancouver Alliance, and Frog Hollow Neighborhood House, briefly presented the work they do to address social isolation and mental health challenges in our city. They were available during the break time for conversations. The last part of the workshop was a presentation of Missional Discipleship.

"Missional Discipleship" stirs different memories and associations for people. Some positive and some not so positive. For the sake of the workshop's discussion, Missional Discipleship was introduced as a framework of five principles and three loving movements that meaningfully meet social isolation and mental health. The five principles are:

  • Wholeness
  • Mutuality
  • Intentional
  • Transcendence
  • Sustainability

The three loving movements are:

  • Upward (loving God and ourselves)
  • Inward (loving community)
  • Outward (loving God’s world)

May God enable us to see our neighbour not as a threat, but as a promise regardless of his/her social or mental journey. And may we care enough to reach out as part of our life of discipleship.

Share this page

About the author

Profile photo for Claudia Rossetto

Claudia Rossetto (BCS, M.A., D.Min.) is originally from Bolivia where she managed the department of information technology at Food for the Hungry, a relief and development organization. She holds an M.A. from Regent College and a D.Min. from Carey Theological College. She is passionate about evangelism and missionary discipleship as Jesus’ good news for those affected by the lethal impact of social isolation in the world. She has been deeply shaped by her church community, Grandview Calvary Baptist Church in east Vancouver, which is aware of colonial memory, active in social justice, and aims to extend radical hospitality. Claudia served on staff at Missions Fest Vancouver, now known as Mission Central, in a variety of capacities over many years, and now works for Baptist Housing Ministries.

Church
Church
Grandview Calvary Baptist Church (Vancouver, BC)
Organization
Organization

More on Mission Central

Article

Life with God in a Different Land

Defining Mission and Life with God in South Asia and Cross-Cultural Missions Read more Read more...

Mission Resource

5 Transitions to Participate as Senders in God’s Global Mission

These five transitions have proven effective for churches to make an impact as missionary sending churches. Read more Read more...

Article

​A Conversation about Discipling with Murray Moerman

The engine of the church is discipleship is growing in obedience Read more Read more...

Article

Justice and Prayer at the Heart of Creation

Justice and prayer are always connected in God's creation. Read more Read more...

Devotional

Altar Vision Devotional - Week 9

Surrender, no matter what! Read more Read more...

Devotional

Altar Vision Devotional - Week 5

How does surrender connect to loss and lead to freedom? Read more Read more...

Article

Indigenous Theology: Changing the Ministry Landscape

Central to accomplishing our purpose is the challenge of a deep-seated Western ethnocentrism in theology and mission... Read more Read more...

Article

Operation Watchman on the Walls

From the grounds of Israel: We have seasons of rocket fire, and we have seasons of terror attacks on our streets. Read more Read more...