News /PEERS to bring WRAP to spiritual communities
As part of the Social Inclusion Campaign's goal to integrate spirituality with mental health, PEERS will be launching two new WRAP groups in spiritual communities starting in 2012.
Open to individuals of all faiths, the two ongoing WRAP sessions will be held at Church for Today in Berkeley and the Family Bible Fellowship in Newark. The two locations were chosen for the pilot program because of their strong leadership and previous work around mental health, according to Spirituality Liaison Monique Tarver.
"We are lucky to have two senior pastors in spiritual communities working with us who have a great passion for and understanding of mental health," Tarver said. "In addition, the leadership in the surrounding communities of these locations has been present for previous mental health and spirituality trainings, and provide a firm foundation for what we want to accomplish. Our goal is to ultimately spread this message throughout the community, and this is a great way to start."
Tarver is looking forward to offering WRAP in spiritual communities not only to give consumers more options, but to educate spiritual leadership on how to support community members with mental health challenges.
"Spiritual communities are often the first responders to crises, which means there is a need to not only respond appropriately and responsively, but a need for resources that can be offered afterward," Tarver said. "We want to make the experience coming into the mental health system a positive one. We don't want to stop at, 'You need to go to a doctor.' We want to promote more of a recovery model approach as a spiritual community so we can treat people holistically."
Pastor Bill Kruse of Church for Today is optimistic about the positive impact WRAP will have on spiritual communities.
"Bringing WRAP to spiritual communities is a very good thing, and is long overdue," Kruse said. "Spirituality is important to many in recovery because spirituality is part of being human. For me, faith centers should support those in greatest need, whatever that need is."
WRAP will not only make consumers more comfortable in pursuing recovery with their faith, but spiritual leaders will also be able to learn what they can do, according to Kruse.
"We need to understand what will happen and understand our limitations in being able to offer help," Kruse said. "I see situations where churches say consumers don’t really need to take meds and that they just need more prayer. We have to educate ourselves on how to provide support."
Tarver hopes that community members see that a method exists to help people live fulfilling lives and cope with wherever they are on the wellness continuum.
"Within each religion, there is a component that speaks to wisdom," Tarver said. "It is a little-known fact that planning is acceptable to the spiritual community. We're hoping to shed a little bit of light on the fact that there is an option to not go directly from well to crisis."
Tarver is hopeful that WRAP will bring more positivity into all the communities with which it works.
"As a society, we share enough negative news," Tarver said. "I am so excited to be in a position to share something incredibly positive and empowering. I love being able to share something that has worked for so many and has potential to do something great for so many others."
WRAP sessions will be held every Thursday from 1-3pm beginning on January 12 at Church for Today in Berkeley. Starting February 6, sessions will be held every Monday from 7-9pm at Family Bible Fellowship in Newark. For more information on WRAP in spiritual communities, please contact Minister Monique Tarver, PEERS Spirituality Liaison, at email@example.com or (510) 832-7337.