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Mental Health & the Church Review

Wellness starts with us!

The COVID-19 pandemic created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short- and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions. Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened.

For this World Mental Health Day 2022, the palm beach county community tried to close the gap locally by connecting families, therapists, and faith leaders to sing a new song of hope and joy at the 3rd annual New Song: Mental Health & the Church Conference. This conference was sponsored by BeWellPBC in partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University School of Education and Behavioral Health, New Song Church Mental Health Ministry, and the Protective Factors Group (Nonprofit private practice). The conference focused on healing, support, and overcoming mental health stigma.

Attendees from the conference shared their experience as follows:

"Thank you so much for this event. I especially loved the drumming circle, along with the fantastic selection of intriguing speakers and dedicated panelists. I hope your conference goes on to solidify a third annual happening. As a young adult serving in volunteer leadership with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illnesses) of Palm Beach County, your programming has inspired some further thoughts for my own impactful initiatives..." - Davy Yue

The guest speakers and panelists included:

Judge Ginger Wren (*Presided over first mental health court in America)

Commissioner Cathleen Ward

Commissioner Shalonda Warren

Palm Beach County Drug Czar John Hulick, MS

Lisa Johnson, NAMI PBC Board Member

Lauren Zuchman, BeWellPBC Executive Director

Jeanette Gordon, McArthur’s Own, Inc. Director

Representative Jervonte Edmonds

Sarah Claire Smith, LMHC, Providencia Collective

Pablo Del Real- Mindfulness Educator

Philip Henry, Phd, Substance Abuse Counseling Expert

Marcken Volmy, LMHC, NCC, EMDR/Trauma

Abasi Hanif, Living the Rhythm

Attendees had an opportunity to enjoy lunch and treats provided by Chef Boris of BDS Catering and Gregory Eaton of "Cupcake Baptist". The informational conference bags and resources were sponsored by the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy Minority Fellowship Program. Moreover, research and tools were provided by SAMHSA and YWCA PBC. Lastly, the Flawless Foundation graciously sponsored the Yoga Mats.

The 3rd Annual "Mental Health & the Church" Conference was a success due to the community coming together and the support of BeWellPBC. Together, we are recharging families hearts in healing and empowering mental health professionals and faith leaders.

For more information, the conference was coordinated by Dr. Debbie Manigat, DMFT, LMFT, New Song Mental Health Ministry Director and Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Additional questions or future partnerships requests for this conference may be sent to

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