With the goal of creating an educational epicenter on its campus to combine faith and the global advancement of mental health care, Liberty University has announced the launch of the Global Center for Mental Health, Addiction, and Recovery.
The center will be the first of its kind for the university, bringing together academic departments and multiple campus resources to work through partnerships and strategic alliances that advance research and provide education, training, advocacy and services to help cope with the enormous mental health and substance abuse crisis in the church and the world community.
“The vision and mission statement of this global center is to connect all schools collaboratively and bring together this wealth of information, because mental health touches everywhere,” said Dr Tim Clinton, who will be the leader. executive director. “Why wouldn’t an institution like Liberty take a step back and consider all of these issues and challenges?” With our already state-of-the-art resources in all of our disciplines, we can make a collective effort to demonstrate and defend why we hold fast to our Christian beliefs in mental health.
Clinton is the president of the American Association of Christian Counselors and co-host of “Family Talk” with Dr. James Dobson. He is a distinguished educator, author and speaker, he has touched millions of people around the world with a distinctly Christian and clinically excellent message of hope and everyday life support. For over 30 years he served in university administration and as a professor of counseling and pastoral care at Liberty. During her tenure and counseling alongside colleague and mentor Dr Ron Hawkins, Clinton developed the world’s largest Christian counselor training program at Liberty. Clinton helped develop and launch the Liberty University James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage and Family Studies.
The new global center focused on mental health is launched at a particularly relevant time, he said: “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States was already in the midst of a massive mental health crisis. Issues like depression, stress and anxiety, abuse, personality and obsessive-compulsive disorder, drug addiction and others have caused a wave of despair in our culture, and now the current pandemic and its societal issues and relationships have only gone further. . “
“The American people are exhausted, empty and emotionally dejected,” Clinton added. “The break is deep. Not to give them help and hope in these problems is the mistake. The crisis is when we (the Church) should be there.
Census Bureau data shows that 33% of Americans show signs of depression or clinical anxiety, and a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 45% of American adults reported a negative impact on their mental health due to the stress and worry due to COVID-19.
Globally, 450 million people live with mental illness, and nearly one in 25 adults (10 million) in America lives with serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, nearly 60% of adults living with mental health problems in the United States have gone without treatment in the past year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the national suicide rate increased 33% between 1999 and 2019.
The partnership with Liberty for the center is a highly qualified advisory board that will bring its expertise to strengthen and assist this crucial new initiative. The advice will include:
- Tim Clinton, Ed.D, LPC, LMFT; Executive director
- Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D. Min. LPC; Associate Director
- Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
- Darryl and Tracy Strawberry, Th.D., Strawberry Ministries
- Cathy Hendrick Weeks, Motivational speaker and philanthropist
- Matt Stanford, Ph.D.; CEO of Hope and Healing Center & Institute
- Harold Koenig, MD; Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University
- Everett Worthington Jr., PhD; Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Lon Lynn, DO; West Florida, Inc. Medical Director of Clinical Research
- Jack Graham, D.Min., PowerPoint Ministries and Prestonwood Baptist Church
- Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free chapel church
- Greg Jantz, Ph.D.; Founder of the Center: A place of hope
- Janet Parshall; At the market with Janet Parshall
- Craig Parshall, JD; Special advice for law and justice
- Herb & Dona Fisher, Board of Directors of the James Dobson Family Institute
Dr Ron Hawkins, a longtime Liberty advisor and administrator who established the School of Behavioral Sciences, is helping launch the center.
“We have a global mental health crisis, and the pandemic has put this crisis on steroids,” he said. “Relationships that were already fragile have now imploded. “
According to Gallup, more than a third of American adults (37%) say they feel less connected to family and friends.
Hawkins said there is significance in such a far-reaching mental health initiative being born in an academic institution to solve real-world problems. Liberty is up to the challenge, he said, looking at many different facets, of “the science of addiction, the science of mental health and the whole legal issue of policies that are changed and addressed as we speak. “.
“We have never had something so comprehensive to solve such an important problem, and from that we are looking for a way forward,” he added. “We are looking for a way to approach solutions in an intelligent, responsible and way, speaking from a position of faith and a biblical worldview.”
Providing mental health care from a Christian perspective can also open the door to the gospel, Clinton pointed out, because sometimes being around those in the midst of trials can allow them to be more receptive to the gospel. Good news.
“People are more open to God’s direction and reach in times of crisis, so that’s when we should step in – when everyone is walking away. Pain blinds the eyes and creates confusion, and so evil triumphs. “
For many people with mental health and addiction issues, it’s all about helping them build healthy relationships.
“In some ways, healthy relationships can have the same effect as good medicine – if you have the right relationships, it can be transformative. Think about it spiritually: a God who loves you can be transformative, and we can bring that kind of hope to the world.
For Clinton, mental health is of the utmost importance and providers of mental health care are in great demand.
“Tell me where does not touch of mental health? The family, the workplace, what we look at all over the world. With this, you realize that there is really a huge need for suppliers. One of the great things we’re doing here at Liberty is training mental health leaders to step into this moment and help lead the way with a voice of reason, clinical excellence, and a faith that transcends despair. . “
Hawkins and Clinton said the center will be fully aligned with the university’s mission, and faculty, staff and students in residential and online programs will also be served by its work.
“It’s exciting to realize that it’s not just going out into the world; it actually seeps in here and ripples through faculty and students and how we approach mental health issues, ”Hawkins said.
Studies show increased levels of anxiety and depression in college students, and Clinton and Hawkins want to strengthen the university’s internal response.
“If we are really talking about Training Champions for Christ and impacting culture, these are the issues we need to talk about, ”Clinton added. “Students today have grown up in a complex world and much of the pain they bring to school is different. “
The new center is a bold step in dealing with an ever-growing crisis.
“We truly believe that mental health will be the greatest challenge facing the Church and the global community as we move forward,” said Clinton. “The Church cannot ignore or be timid in the face of these problems. It will be a real statement from a Christian educational institution on mental health and a real statement to the Church about where we think we need to go to serve people and give them help and support. hope for a time like this.
Visit Liberty.edu/mental-health/ to learn more.