The North Georgia Conference
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Each month we will bring you new resources to provide support around your wellbeing now and in the future. Be sure to bookmark or print these resources for easy reference.

Meaningful Moment  |  Sometimes you can't "just get over it."
Just Checking In  | When Lent feelings stick around even after Easter
Dear Lindsay  |  How can I help someone with their mental health struggles?
What We’re Talking About  |  First Aid for Mental Health
Conference Resources  |  Mental Health Awareness Month planning

Meaningful Moment

"Like the rings of a tree, you carry each year of your life inside of you. It makes sense that you can't "just forget about it and move on."
Thoughts from @drjennhardy on Instagram

For the people who have been told to "just get over it."
Some rings of your life are thick, some are thin. Some rings carry a lot of pain. Some may need more of your compassion than others.

Just Checking In


We are coming up on Ash Wednesday and the beginning Lent. It’s a time where we are acutely reminded of our finitude and humanity. That there are parts of us that are bent, bruised, and hurt. Also, that we’ve also bent, bruised, and hurt others.

There is a whole lot of pain and humanness in the world around us. And in us.

We probably don’t need Lent as a reminder of this. We’ve lived it these last two years. It’s felt like one perpetual Lent where so much has been ripped away and even our constant of the church feels like it’s on shaky ground right now. As we are reminded of our imperfections and flaws, we recognize our need for God. And need for the healers that God has put in our lives. We need God’s unconditional love AND we need therapists.

As we prepare to spend the next 40ish days being utterly aware of our humanity and shortcomings, there will probably be a lot of feelings that bubble up within us. Feelings that we may or may not have ever addressed before. Reminders of old pains, shame, self-doubt, exhaustion, and asking if you’re “good enough.”

We get to Easter in April with (spoiler alert) the joyful reminder Jesus conquers even the darkest moments and that even death doesn’t have the final word. And in a culture that tells us we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we probably say that Easter will heal it all, and then we’ll be fine.

But let me tell you, sometimes the feelings of Lent stick around even with the truth and hope of Easter staring us in the face.

May is Mental Health Awareness month. You might be asking yourself, why in the world are we talking about May when it’s only February? Because it’s the perfect time to think ahead to future sermon series and small group ideas. All of us will have emotionally survived Lent, but possibly a little rough for wear, and be slogging forward. It’s the perfect time to offer mental health support to continue to process these feelings – for your congregation AND yourself!

So today’s newsletter is about planning ahead. Each month between now and then, we’ll release a few more resources to prepare for the month – both for you personally and the congregation. Today we’re starting with some key websites for worship resources. Also, be sure to register for First Aid for Mental Health being offered by Wespath (two one-hour webinars in March).

Use this planning towards May to educate your congregation about the importance of mental health. But also use preparation time to focus on your own mental health. As pastors (and natural caregivers) we often put the needs of others above our own. Let this Lenten season of preparation be one where you care for yourself and prepare to teach others how to care for themselves.

Grateful for you,


Dear Lindsay

Welcome to our version of “Dear Abby.” Here you can submit any questions you might have about wellbeing resources or seek recommendations on how to handle personal or congregational situations. Submit your entry below and we’ll feature one each month! 
Ask Lindsay
Dear Lindsay,
   I have a 25-year-old congregant that appears to have some mental illness symptoms. It appears to be disrupting their life (and their family’s life) and they aren’t doing anything about it. How do I get them to take medication or get help? 
   Don’t Know How to Help


Dear “Don’t Know How to Help,”

That sounds really challenging to see a congregant you care about in some distress. It is always hard to see people in pain and want to help.

First, remember you can’t “fix” someone. You can only walk with them on their journey. It’s an important concept that we need to hold with us when we see someone not addressing their needs or not improving. We can offer feedback, insight, and support but we can’t make someone address something that they don’t believe is a problem or don’t want to face.

Second, adults have the right to make bad choices (which is frustrating, I know). Free will can be annoying sometimes, right? But adults have the right to choose things that are unhealthy for them. The only time adults aren’t allowed to make bad choices and therapists or first responders (or other mandated reporters) have the ability to step in is if someone is reporting thoughts of harm to themselves with a specific plan or if someone is harming others (thoughts of homicide, child or elder abuse). But if someone simply wants to use drugs or alcohol at a harmful level or is depressed and doesn’t want to leave bed, we can’t force them to get help. People are allowed to not want to change or do anything. We can address the situation and hope that they see what we share, but we can’t force them to do anything.

Third, we CAN offer resources and sit with people. While we can’t make someone make the choices we want them to, we can offer recommendations and resources for them to know what they might have access to. I often ask people how they’re feeling, name what symptoms I’m noticing, and see if they believe it’s disrupting their lives. If they say yes, I share that there are mental health therapists that can help teach tools to manage the disruption to their lives and hopefully provide some relief. I also share that medication can sometimes help relieve the distress level of the mental illness symptoms as well and an appointment with their PCP (Primary Care Provider) might be a place to start. In the end, it’s about walking with someone and enabling them to engage resources on their terms and not forcing them on anyway.

This is a challenging topic because we want people to be the healthiest versions of themselves. Unfortunately, especially due to stigma, many people don’t want to seek mental health support services. Therefore, normalizing seeing a therapist and/or being on medication (especially in the church) are critical for more people engaging the resources. 

Grateful for you and your question,

What We're Talking About – Recommendation of the Month!

Each month we will share some of our favorite wellbeing resources.

Wespath is offering “First Aid for Mental Health,” an accessible-to-all 2-part webinar series to learn about mental health and how to provide support for mental health crises. Sign up for each of these 1-hour long trainings to learn mental health basics and provide support, much like we all learn CPR for crisis support. Check it out and sign up for March 10th & March 24th. Encourage your colleagues and your congregations to sign up and learn more.

New Resources

If you’re starting to plan now for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, here are some of our key recommended resources for worship planning and programming: Mental Health Month Resources

Download now: Mental Health Month Resources

WE WANT YOU! Do you have a great resource we need to know about? We are compiling resource lists of virtual/in-person grief groups, therapists, spiritual directors, and clergy coaches. Also, we are building lists of recovery resource groups in each district, so if you know of great active AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery groups (or any others) in your area, please share them with us

Previously Released Conference Resources

All resources can be found at any time on the NGUMC Wellbeing website.

What’s the Difference? Spiritual Director, Coach, and Therapist
Alternative Holiday Conversation Starters (Part 2)
BIPOC Mental Health Resources
Key Mental Health Websites
Ambiguous Loss Rituals
"A Weary World Rejoices" worship resources to help you take a Sunday off
Holiday Conversation Starters
Stages of Grief resource
Tips to Manage through the Holiday Season
A Walking Meditation guide 
Rest & Renewal Plan
Reflection Guide for Rest and Renewal
100 Self-Care Ideas 
A Moment of Reflection journal template 
Letter to SPRC Chairs (October 2021)
Crisis Hotline Numbers
How to Find a Therapist video
How to Find a Therapist guide
Recommended Podcasts

Season 3 of “Not Alone: Faith and Mental Health” Podcast

Listen to season 3 with all new episodes focusing on decision making, how to have conversations with those different from you, and relationships. Join Rev. Michael McCord, Director of the Georgia UMCommission, Evan DeYoung, a campus minister, and Rev. Lindsay Geist, a licensed clinical social worker, as they walk together through a life of faith and wellbeing. Find “Not Alone: conversations on Faith and Wellbeing” on your favorite podcast platform.

Apple Podcasts

Key Contact Numbers

For a printable list of Mental Health and Substance Use crisis numbers, click here.

Additionally, the Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line (866-399-8938) assists callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emotional Support Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in crisis counseling.
Rev. Lindsay Geist, MDiv, MSW, LCSW
Church Transition & Clinical Resource Specialist
North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church
Copyright © 2022 The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.

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