Greetings from Doug Feil, executive director
Greetings to You!

We at SCA are excited to send you the first edition of the SCA Ministry Minute e-letter. We hope and pray that these bi-monthly newsletters will be a benefit to you and your ministry. Our goal is not to add spam to your email account, but rather provide concise, helpful information to equip you to serve The Lord where He has placed you.

Each edition will have three components: a feature article on a relevant topic, a Q & A section on questions we have received from pastors and ministry leaders, and a feature showing an SCA ministry or staff member. Please give us feedback, share these with your colleagues and email us with your questions.

Our staff of 23 therapists will work together to give input on these articles.

May God bless you as you serve Him.
Caring for the Depressed
 

Depression is a pervasive problem in our society. Surveys done by the NIH show that one in five Americans are clinically depressed at any moment in time. Depression is harmful personally (i.e. higher rates of illnesses and suicide), in our families and churches, and in society in general. What is it and what can be done about it?

There are many aspects to depression which contribute to its pervasiveness including:

  • Medical Causes: There are a wide range of medical conditions and medications that contribute to depression. When you encounter a depressed person in your ministry, it’s always a great first step to have them get a physical to either treat or rule out medical causes.
  • Spiritual: Unconfessed sin, spiritual burdens, and spiritual warfare can all contribute.
  • Genetic: There are personality styles and genetic makeup that contribute to some people being depressed. This includes family of origin genetics that can predispose people to a tendency towards depression.
  • Emotional: Many emotional factors contribute to depression including grieving, abuse and trauma, feelings of despair, hopelessness and powerlessness, and difficult periods of transition and pain.

What can you do to help? Ideas include:

  1. Get involved. Let the person know someone notices and cares. Be careful to keep healthy boundaries as you care, but engage with them as the body of Christ.
  2. Direct them to the proper medical resources to treat or rule out medical causes.
  3. A physiological cause of depression is lowered serotonin levels. Encouraging the person to do the 5 basic self-care steps to increase serotonin levels naturally is always helpful. They are: 7-9 hours of seep a night; healthy nutrition; 15-20 minutes of exercise a day; 30 minutes of sunlight a day; and stress reduction.
  4. Challenge them to not just “accept” or “live with” depression, but to rather get help and do something about it. This may include seeking counseling, being evaluated for medication, focusing prayer on the causes, and receiving support from others during seasons of grief, transition, and other life experiences.

Always remember that depressed people are a potential suicide risk, so take their comments seriously and take appropriate action when necessary.

Questions and Answers

Q. When do I as a pastor or ministry leader need to notify authorities rather than keep confidentiality of a person?

A. The law in Colorado lists the following situations as times when you must break confidentiality and report your concerns to others: Suspected child abuse (physical, sexual) or neglect; threats of harm towards others (a specific person including those associated with a specific location or entity); threats of suicide or homicide; threats to national security; and suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of elderly (age 70 or above) and at-risk adults. Please always take these situations seriously and follow through! The best person or entity to speak with about each of these mandated areas may vary.

Q. Is the ministry at risk to be sued if we report suspected abuse and it turns out not to be true?

A. No. The law specifically allows mandated report protection from legal repercussions for persons reporting, as long as there is “reasonable suspicion.” As a result, our practice at SCA errs on the side of reporting the possibility of abuse, rather than holding off and looking for more proof. We are not mandated to prove the abuse; that is the role of law enforcement and the legal system. We are held only to the standard of “reasonable suspicion.”

 

Your church serves people faithfully and effectively. So do we at SCA. What could be better?

Serving Together!

Founded over 20 years ago as an extension ministry of a Littleton church, we have served thousands of people by integrating biblical truth with proven clinical disciplines. We are always looking for ways to complement local church ministries with our specialized expertise.

Our Church Assistance Program allows a church to customize a plan to help cover professional fees for people they have referred to SCA.

Getting Started

Your church refers an eligible client to SCA. The church determines eligibility of the client. The client calls SCA's intake coordinator to inform him of the church referral. The intake coordinator will conduct a telephone interview to assess the client's needs, insurance availability and other key details. The client meets with the assigned SCA therapist for the first time. Paperwork, including the CAP authorization form, is filled out prior to the first session. SCA's administrative office will fax or mail the CAP authorization form to the church contact person once it is signed by the client. The church signs and returns the form to the administrative office. This gives SCA and the church written permission to arrange a payment plan for the client’s counseling fees.

Ongoing Treatment

On a regular basis SCA will mail invoices to the church contact person. The church pays SCA directly by mail. SCA will bill the client’s insurance company if applicable. The SCA therapist and client follow through with scheduled appointments. The client has the option to sign a release of information form allowing consultation between the therapist and the church pastor. With this written permission, the therapist will contact the pastor to discuss the client's progress and possible need for additional sessions. 3.

Completing Treatment

The CAP program is completed once all of the church's assigned funds have been utilized. At this point, the therapist and client will decide whether or not to continue treatment. If treatment continues, the client transfers from the CAP program to a new financial arrangement based on insurance coverage and other current information.

For More Information

  • Call: (303) 730-1717
  • For administrative issues contact Jo at extension 208
  • E-mail: sca@southwestcounseling.org
  • Website: www.southwestcounseling.org
  • Southwest Counseling Associates, 141 West Davies Avenue Littleton, CO 80120

To recommend additional pastors or ministry leaders for our mailing list, please email them to Shawna at: sca@southwestcounseling.org

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