Mental Health Fundamentals For

Spiritual Care Providers


How This Course Improves Care and Advances Your Career:

  • Increases quality of palliative care for those facing mental health issues
  • Gives spiritual care providers essential knowledge of prevalent mental health issues
  • Helps spiritual care providers identify common expressions of mental distress
  • Identifies resources to assist in reducing decline in quality of life
  • Upon successful completion of this course 48 CEU hours will be issued

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

The Mental Health Challenge
Professionals working in acute, palliative, long term, home and hospice care contexts are frequently confronted with caring 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. Without specific training in these areas of care, how will you respond? Do you know how to recognize mental health symptoms? Do you know your roles and responsibilities in these situations?

Are You Ready for the Challenge?

Often health care professionals – chaplains, nurses, physicians, social workers, aides, and others – may have had some rudimentary training in mental health issues. Yet with the rise of the number of persons suffering from psychiatric disorders, more and more patients being treated for medical conditions also have one or more underlying mental health issues that come to the forefront as they face additional stress.

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Quote

Over the last 20 years, researchers have conducted studies that reveal that chronic or serious illness (CSI) and mental distress/illness frequently occur together. Additionally, there tends to be worse treatment outcomes for people with CSI combined with mental distress/illness—that is, unless the mental distress/illness is also addressed and treated. Look at the following real-world scenarios and answer this critical question… 

"What Will You do?”

Depression, mental anguish, spiritual care

  • Travis is a 44-year-old Army Reserve veteran who served three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. While hospitalized for a routine medical procedure, he confides to you that he believes he may be suffering from post- traumatic stress from his military experience. He tells you he used to believe in God, but now, after all he’s seen and experienced, he’s not as sure as he used to be. What will you say? How to you convey this situation to the rest of his team?
  • 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?
  • Mr. Smith is 50 years old with dementia and undergoing treatment for advanced cancer. Once a week his family brings him in for treatment in a wheelchair. Mr. Smith is capable of walking, but his family believes that the wheelchair provides a calm experience for him. He has poor short-term memory and usually forgets events and people from the day before. A highlight for Mr. Smith is a visit to the hospital chapel and its beautiful stained glass. The family shares that every time he views the stained glass he has a great smile, and asks if there are other ways the team can help him feel happy. Do you understand the role dementia is playing in his care? What do you say or not say to his family?
  • 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?

Often health care professionals – chaplains, nurses, physicians, social workers, aides, and others – may have had basic training in mental health issues. Yet with the rise of the number of persons suffering from psychiatric disorders, more and more patients being treated for medical conditions also have one or more underlying mental health issues that come to the forefront as they face additional stress.

Spiritual and emotional distress present additional challenges to the spiritual well being of the chronic or seriously ill and the aged, whose spiritual coping may already be burdened by their physical illness or decline.

The Chaplaincy Solution
Fully OnlineThere are no simple solutions on this complex topic but knowledge is power. This course has been designed to empower the chaplain to be able to take action where appropriate and honor legal, ethical and organizational limits as the situation dictates.

This fully online course, developed by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and offered by the CSU Institute for Palliative Care, provides chaplains, and others providing spiritual care, with essential knowledge of prevalent mental health issues.

This is a Crucial Course
While the course does not propose to teach participants to make formal psychiatric diagnoses, it 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, including:

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HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Quote

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

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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

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.

Related Courses You Might Find Interesting
-Chaplaincy Specialty Certificate
-Critical 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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