Mental Health and Faith Conference
Held at Tottenham Town Hall,
Haringey, London, August 18th, 2018
Written by Arabelle Jemide, a first time attendee at Nous conference
The Nous Organization in collaboration with the Peace Alliance organized a conference on mental health and faith, which began at 10am.
A diverse range of qualified experts in the health sector and faith groups contributed to the discussions, focusing on a central theme of equipping and informing faith leaders and members on relevance of faith in mental wellbeing.
The Conference startes off with a positive start to much needed conversations on contributing factors to failed mental health also considering the role of faith communities.
The start of the event was piloted by one of the conference moderators, Lade Olugbemi, Founder and CEO of The Nous Organization, with an opening statement which included the drive and purpose behind the conference, stating that the importance of knowledge and understanding mental health plays a part in overcoming stigmas attached to mental instability within faith communities.
Dr Leah Akinlolu and Dr O B Owolokere both delivered presentations on the definition of mental health, causes of mental illness and symptoms. Additionally, sufficient biblical references were used to elaborate on the significance of faith in sustaining mental wellbeing. They linked how important and the crucial factor that faith and hope can provide for a person of faith.
Quoting John 15:5 and 1 Timothy 6:12 they both talked about how God wanted us to live full lives.
Father Bunmi Fagbemi, the Parish Priest at Holy Trinity Church gave spoke briefly about In short, his cross reference of bread as daily food to Jesus who is the bread of life (John 6:35).
Rev. Nims Obunge, The CEO of Peace Alliance spoke about the reason to engage the church in such discussions, he introduced, Rachel Ross- Burrell. She spoke on “Developing Mental Health Framework for Faith Communities”. With a compelling scripture-based introduction, Burrell’s breakdown of 1 Thesselonians 5:23 was a suitable way to shed more light on the predominant role of faith communities in sustaining mental wellbeing.
The final segment of the programme can be described as the ‘cherry on top’, this is characteristics of Nous Seminars. The “Open Mic Session” was packed with back to back testimonies and questions that steered the conversation in the right direction. Questions about suicide, neglect, misunderstanding, support for members and leaders of church and fellowship communities and several other themes surrounding potential threats to mental health or stability were brought to the attention of the speakers by the audience. Although brief, the Q and A session imparted further knowledge on mental health and the support systems available, specifically in the Haringey Borough such as the Haringey Adult Mental Health Services. More importantly, the session led to a new wave of thinking from members of the audience; a fresh hunger not to leave questions unanswered as majority of the audience connected with the speakers and other members to ensure the conversations keeps going.
All in all, the Mental health and Faith conference was monumental in spearheading an overdue conversation on mental wellbeing and its connection to the faith and church communities. After this two-hour event, several people in attendance testified to a “stirring up”, which is classed as a positive physical and spiritual response, caused by the message of the conference. A well organized and managed spirit led event that will be remembered as the beginning of a new era.