One of the biggest challenges that I face as a pastor is responding to mental illness. While I had a couple of counselling courses in seminary, I feel that I lack background in mental health.
I spent some time as chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. They put a tremendous amount of emphasis on mental health awareness. But the need for this goes far beyond those involved in the military. I find the church is far behind the military when it comes to mental health.
We need to be intentional in being more prepared to respond to mental illness. We can do this be reading books on mental health and attending training events. Mental Health First Aid might be a resource that could be helpful. One of the things I did was to organize a mental health and addictions workshop. It was an opportunity to bring in people with the knowledge and experience that could help my church and myself to grow.