Synopsis

Can a True Christian be Depressed?

What does the Bible say about Suicide & Anxiety?

How can the Church be a Healing Community?

One in eight adults in Singapore has experienced a mental health condition in his lifetime. In a recently published study on Attitudes Towards Persons with Mental Health Conditions in Singapore (2017), more than five in ten people are not willing to live or work with a person with a mental health condition, yet eight in ten feel that the best therapy for them is to be part of the community. What is our response as disciples of Christ; as the Church?

This conference seeks to sharpen and deepen our understanding of Mental Wholeness and the role that the Church has to play. We hope to have misconceptions clarified and grow as a healing community that Christ set us apart to be.

Speakers

Dr Tan Soo Inn

Chairman, Graceworks

Loves journeying with people and connecting the Word of God with the struggles of daily life.

Dr Joel M.Navarro

Professor of Music, Singapore Bible College

A Christian conductor, artist, educator, and scholar who has found the Psalms a source of comfort, inner peace, and restoration.

Ps Chua Seng Lee

Deputy Snr Pastor, Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church

Author, advocate and advisor on Mental Health Issues in Singapore.

Dr Wei Ker Chiah

Psychiatrist

Passionate about fostering thriving communities for those with disabilities and their loved ones/caregivers.

Dr Joseph Leong

Psychiatrist

Believes in pointing people to Jesus as Healer, Redeemer & Saviour. He’ll share how we can grow as a healing community.

Dr Raj Velloo

Psychiatrist

Dr Raj sits empathetically with his patients in their struggles as he desires to be a conduit of God’s healing – made possible by God’s loving grace.

Ps Rick Toh

Lead Pastor, Yio Chu Kang Chapel

Obedient to the call of the Lord to lead the church toward being an authentic community where the wounded and brokenhearted experience acceptance, forgiveness and restoration in Christ.

Ms Lindis Szto

Pastoral Staff, Bethesda Frankel Estate Church

Lindis heads “BFEC Cares”, a movement that equips ordinary church members to care for and counsel others in a skilful and godly way.

Ms Han Yah Yee

Group Director, Montfort Care

A well-respected professional in the industry, Yah Yee was appointed a Master Practice Leader by MSF and has helped train many in Suicide Intervention Skills.

Schedule

Thu 12 Sep [Free]

7:30pmRegistration
8:00pmWelcome & Worship
8:30pm

Evening Talk by Dr Tan Soo Inn

When Christians struggle with Anxiety, Depression & Suicide
Christians are not immune to anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Yet, we struggle with how to make sense of all this; even wondering if the Bible address these “modern” psychological issues.
How does one have victory in Jesus, yet continue to struggle with the inner demons within?
How can a person press on to do the “right Christian things” if he/she can barely bring themselves to get out of bed?
Listen in to Dr Tan as he unpacks what God has to say about these things and how he struggled through some of these very issues himself.
9:30pmQ&A Panel
10:00pmEnd

Fri 13 Sep [Free]

5:00pmRegistration
5:30pm
Shepherding the Shepherd: Ministry time for the minister (dinner included)
(A safe space for soul care and strengthening the mental wholeness of Pastors, Ministers and full time workers)
Burn-out, bitterness, despair, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Don’t be surprised that these can be common experiences among those who serve in the pastoral ministry. Unlike technical work, pastoral work can be very taxing to the emotional health. Unrealistic expectations, unkind criticisms, self-doubt, broken marriages and family problems can all lead to a shepherd’s mental fatigue. The problem is compounded by the fact that many expect their shepherds to be resilient and immune to mental illnesses. So those who wrestle with mental issues also struggle with shame and isolation, finding it hard to seek help. This session is specially created to shepherd the shepherds. We invite all who are involved in the pastoral and counselling ministry to join us!
8:00pm
Mental Health In the Gospel Community
(Good News for Bruised Reeds Volume II book launch)
Mental illness remains a taboo subject in society and also in the church. It is hard for people to talk about their mental struggles without the fear of being stigmatised. How can we be a gospel community that provides a safe place for those who are mentally distressed? How can we be a gospel community that gives hope to those who are feeling hopeless? After a successful launch of their first book: Walking with same-sex attracted friends, the Good News for Bruised Reeds team came together to bring us their next book: Mental Health in the Gospel Community. Come and hear testimonies and reflections from fellow Christians regarding this subject. It is going to be a very special night.
9:30pmEnd

Sat 14 Sep [$30]

8:00amRegistration
9:00amWelcome & Worship
9:15am

Talk #1 by Dr Joel M.Navarro

Ministering to our Souls through the Psalms
The premise that the people of God are called to sacrifice and service implies a life that is expected to be laden with personal struggle and relational strife. Indeed, the process of sanctification allows us to examine our own issues and to be ultimately conformed to the likeness of Christ. The Psalms reflect a deep and honest humanity, a vivid transparency and fervent intimacy of relationship with God. Dr Joel M.Navarro will teach and share deeply through testimony and song.

Talk #2 by Ps Chua Seng Lee

We can’t “pray away” a mental health condition: Stigmas & Misconceptions of Mental Health
Mental health is a complex human issue. Just like humans, it is not easily defined or dealt with. To hope that it will be resolved or go away because of a simple prayer, can limit the deeper work of God in the person's life. There are many misconceptions and stigma that can hinder the healing process. This talk will seek to address some of them and provide some postures needed towards healing.
10:15amBreak
10:30am

Talk #3 by Dr Wei Ker Chiah

The Church as a Community for the mentally ill & their caregivers
Drawing upon his experience of planting a church to meet the needs of the disabled and their loved ones, Dr Wei Ker Chiah will share how we, as a Church, can create a safe environment for the mentally ill. As a servant of Christ and a psychiatrist, Dr Wei will share his valuable experience on how to foster a thriving and inclusive community for everyone and to exhort the church to action.

Talk #4 by Dr Joseph Leong

Synergy between Mental Health Services and the Church Community
Despite greater awareness of mental illness and mental health issues in recent years, many in Singapore are still unfamiliar with the range and availability of mental health services in the community. Dr Joseph Leong will provide a broad overview of the various support services available in Singapore for both the mentally ill and their caregivers. In this talk, he will share his views on how the church can synergize with these services.
11:30amLunch
12:30pmWorkshop Round I
Conference attendees will choose their top 3 out of the 4 workshops and will be assigned 2 (one for each round)

Workshop A by Dr Raj Velloo & Ps Rick Toh

Depression & Despair: When we don’t know what to do
We don’t always know what to do with depression and despair. For some, the phrase “I’m depressed!” is flung around loosely without thought for those who are struggling in silence. For others, we don’t even realise that we are sinking and we pluck at straws, trying to find our own coping mechanisms – until it is too late and all we feel is hopelessness. Guilt and shame often accompanies the darkness, leaving those who need help unable to ask for it. What do we do in times like these, as someone struggling or when we see our loved one struggle? This workshop aims to answer some of these questions and inject practical hope for all of us.

Workshop B by Dr Joseph Leong

The Road to Recovery; What is the Church’s role?
Recovering from mental illness can often be an arduous, long, and lonely journey. Dr Joseph Leong will lead a workshop focused on recovery from mental illness and the Church's role in helping to make this possible. How can the Church - her leaders, various ministries, small groups and individual members play a role in supporting and facilitating recovery in persons with mental health issues?

Workshop C by Ms Lindis Szto

Christian Caring & Relating; Christ-caring FOR people, THROUGH people
Behind many smiling faces and facades of success lie aching hearts; people who have been buffeted by the storms of life and are longing for some release. Increasing reports of stress-related ailments and disorders show that many find it hard to cope with life. Can help be found? The imperative for us from Isaiah 61:2-3 is to comfort God's people, not just in the church but in the world. How can we be the channels to point hurting people to the Lord of all Comforts?

Workshop D by Ms Han Yah Yee

When Life is Too Hard: Conversations on Suicide
Everyone has a role in suicide prevention. As with mental illness, one of the biggest barriers to preventing suicide is stigma, which prevents many people from seeking help and talking about it. Conversations on and about suicide are ones that we often seek to avoid but such difficult conversations are necessary. How can we foster and support a community that promotes life? In this workshop, let us brainstorm ways on how we can do this together and respond in loving compassion.
1:30pmTea Break
2:00pmWorkshop Round II
3:30pmPanel Discussion
4:30pmEnd
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For enquiries, please email mentalwholeness.yckc@gmail.com.