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Mental Health Fundamentals in
Spiritual Care

What Everyone in Palliative Care Should Know


Professionals will benefit from learning:

  • An in-depth understanding of prevalent mental health issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety
  • Spirituality-based strategies for supporting individuals with common as well as complex mental-health issues
  • Common expressions of mental distress
  • Resources to assist in reducing decline in quality of life

Click HERE or the image to the right to sign up for the brochure for this course.

Mental Health Spiritual Care Palliative Care Brochure

Mental Health Palliative Care

The Mental Health Challenge and the Chaplaincy Solution

Endorsed by a Past President of the Association of Professional Chaplains.

“In my 30+ years as a professional chaplain I’ve worked in many settings where mental health issues accompany and often complicate the situation. This course is essential to those who want to learn more, become more comfortable with, or wish to add to their work with patients and families.” Sue Wintz, MDiv, BCC, past president of the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Professionals working in acute, palliative, long term, home and hospice frequently care for patients and caregivers suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety as well as other forms of mental distress or illness and psychiatric diagnoses. Spiritual and emotional distress present complex challenges to the quality of life of individuals whose coping skills may already be burdened by their physical illness or decline.

Most professionals lack specific training in common and complex mental health issues leaving them unprepared to alleviate the complex suffering of these patients. Spiritual care professionals play an integral role in improving the quality of life of patients and family caregivers.

Consider these examples:

  • Mr. Johnson is patient in an inpatient psychiatric unit. He was so deeply depressed that after not speaking for two days, he repeated again and again the same sentences: “I want to kill myself. I do not want to live anymore.” Mr. Johnson asked the chaplain for clarification on church teachings about suicide. What are your professional, ethical and legal obligations in this situation?
  • Mrs. Brown’s husband is actively dying, and she is having great difficulty in managing her anticipatory grief. With a decades-long history of treatment for depression and anxiety, her current emotions are extremely elevated. She admits that she copes by using alcohol in addition to her prescribed medication. Describing herself as “spiritual but not religious,” she appears unable to utilize any of her spiritual resources to cope with visiting her husband in his last days and has chosen to admit herself to a psychiatric unit in the same hospital “for rest.” She asks the chaplain and other team members: “Would you just tell my children I just can’t be there?” In this case multiple family members are having serious challenges facing the difficulties of the situation. What is your role in communicating a less-than-truthful message to others? What do you do? How do you respond?

Depression, mental anguish, spiritual care

Mental Health Fundamentals in Spiritual Care is designed to empower the chaplain, social worker, or anyone involved in palliative care to provide compassionate, evidence-based support within the framework of legal, ethical and organizational contexts.

Fully Online

This online course, developed by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and offered by The California State University Institute for Palliative Care, provides chaplains and others offering spiritual care with essential knowledge of prevalent mental health issues.

This interactive course focuses on an interactive, collegial environment in which information is gained and shared, skills are built, resources are identified and shared, and confidence is increased in order to enhance one’s ability to provide more effective and quality care to patients. Participants will:

  • Identify and articulate areas where one feels the need for more information and resources to add to their professional toolbox
  • Understand common expressions of mental distress - that may or may not be classified as a psychiatric disorder - and their effect on patient’s and family’s spiritual coping
  • Learn a framework, based on spirituality as a resource for coping with adverse events, that identifies the intersection of spiritual suffering and demoralization with mental distress
  • Engage in case studies with course colleagues to integrate learning into professional practice

What is Involved
Participants will be expected to complete one module each week during the 6-week program.

Learn From Experts

Experts in the field of mental health and chaplaincy care/spirituality have authored the course modules:

  1. Quality of Life and Mental Distress in Chronic or Seriously Ill Patients (CSIP), Their Caregivers, Jocelyn Shealy McGee, Ph.D., M.S.G.
  2. The Relationship Between Spirituality and Mental Health, Rev. Angelika Zollfrank, BCC, ACPE
  3. Implication of Spiritual Suffering, Demoralization, and Depression for Spiritual Care, Megan Johnson Shen, Ph.D.
  4. Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress, Brian Hughes MDiv BCC
  5. Implications of Dementia, Delirium, Terminal Restlessness, and Near Death Awareness for Spiritual Care, John R. Petee, MD and Dr. Walter Moczynski, D.Min
  6. Case Discussion, Using Course Concepts to Analyze and Interpret Cases and Application of Spiritual Resources, Rev. Angelika Zollfrank, BCC, ACPE

Read More

Your Investment
The cost of the course is $799; considerably less than one would spend attending a conference or other out-of-town workshop on the topic. There are no textbooks to purchase, and the work can be completed in one’s own office or home. This investment in yourself becomes a gift for those you serve. It is a career-enhancing course that will give you great satisfaction and new skills to face many of the challenges ahead.

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Quote

Related Courses You Might Find Interesting
-Chaplaincy Specialty Certificate
-Fundamental Hospice Skills for Social Workers
-Fundamental Palliative Care Skills for Social Workers
-Post-MSW Certificate in Palliative Care

Register For This Course

Register for Palliative Care Chaplaincy

DATE: February 2, 2015
LOCATION: Fully Online
COST: $799 + $30 technology fee


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