Lynchburg, Va. — The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is pleased to announce the launch of their certified mental health coach first responder training. Think of it as CPR for mental health. As a part of their 2021 “Dare2Care” global church and mental health initiative, AACC and its President, Dr. Tim Clinton, are locking arms with 13 anchor churches from around the United States to help eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
The goal is to equip congregations with the tools necessary to help those combating depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The initial goal for this program was to enroll 750 churches and train 7,500 mental health coaches in and through these congregations. But with a stronger than expected response in light of the pandemic and the widespread mental health crisis, over 4,500 churches and 12,000 students have already signed up to become active first responders for mental health crises.
Among these anchor churches are some of the largest congregations in the world, including Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, New Season Worship in Sacramento, California, First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, and Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health issues were prevailing, especially among the younger populations of our society. But now, after lockdowns, job losses, family stress, racial unrest, riots, and other cultural disruptions, mental health, and substance abuse are rampant among all age groups precipitating a mental health disaster. According to the CDC, 40% of adults now report struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. That is why AACC is now expanding its goal in hopes of educating, engaging, and equipping 5,000 churches and 22,000 mental health coach first responders through a 40-hour, three-course, biblically-anchored and evidenced-based program. The courses are taught by some of the world’s leading mental health and ministry experts.
The program comes at no cost to any of these churches and students are tuition-free. Regular tuition remains at $2,400.
“People everywhere are exhausted, emotionally spent, and in need of hope,” said Dr. Tim Clinton, President of AACC. “So I believe every church has the responsibility to lead the way in their respective communities to help eradicate silence, shame, and stigma surrounding mental health issues. We are obligated as followers of Christ to provide a safe place where people can speak freely, have a shoulder to lean on, and get the encouragement they need to overcome their battles.”
According to the AACC, the mental health coach first responder training program is the first faith-based peer counseling/coaching program that is available in the U.S. and around the world. The video-based instruction is available 24/7 with the help of their innovative and robust on-demand platform and comes complete with lecture notes and exams. With over 2,500 who have already graduated from the program, students will enter into a qualified network of mental health experts who are then able to become certified as a mental health coach through the International Board of Christian Care.
To find out more information on how to sign up for the mental health coach first responder training program, please visitLightUniversity.com/MentalHealthCoach.