Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and his wife Kay are starting a new mental health ministry following the suicide of their son Matthew a year ago. Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide last April after struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts for years.
"One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain." Warren said in a recent sermon.
"It's so important that people know, no matter how desperate their despair, there is hope, and not to give up," Kay Warren speaking in the press release.
She added, "We want this to be a hopeful event that encourages individuals and helps them realize they are not alone in dealing with mental illness."
Studies show that one out of every four adults in America will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives, and the first place many go for help is church.
The megachurch Pastor will team up with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif., and the National Alliance on Mental Illness- Orange County (NAMI-OC) to host a one day event on Friday, March 28 at Saddleback church in Lake Forest, California.
The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church hopes to raise awareness and help educating family members and church leaders to provide effective care to any faced with the challenges of mental illness. Workshop topics will include depression, stigma, suicide-risk reduction, church counseling, support groups and recovery ministries, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, addictions.
Speakers include Rick and Kay Warren, Bishop Kevin Vann, Steve Pitman of NAMI- OC, Amy Simpson, Eric Johnson, Chuck Hannaford and Matthew Stanford. The event will be webcasted live, tickets are available to purchase online. For more information, please visit mentalhealthandthechurch.com.