Pastor Brad Hoefs

Pastor | Author | Speaker | Hope Coach | Mental Health Advocate

Children and Mental Health from a Doctor’s Perspective

Children and Mental Health from a Doctor’s Perspective

Do you have a child whose behavior(s) are causing you concern? Have you ever felt like a failure as a parent? Possibly you feel like you have a child who becomes a very angry “Incredible-Hulk” periodically? If so, then this is a podcast you won’t want to miss!

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad Hoefs interviews Dr. Brian Lubberstedt who is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. They discuss how potential mental health issues manifest in a child’s life, parenting children who have mental health issues and much more.

This podcast is 45 minutes long. After listening to this podcast we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast. If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site: www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

To listen to this podcast click on the icon below and it will take you to the podcast:FH PodCastArt (160dpi) 02_Splash 480x854

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Making Self-Care a Way of Life by Jamie Meyer

Making Self-Care a Way of Life by Jamie Meyer

By

Having a mental health diagnosis can make it difficult to care for ourselves. For people who don’t have a diagnosis, self-care is mostly a matter of choosing and making time for the things that will lead to better health. For those of us with a brain illness, it isn’t quite that simple. The question we’re more likely to ask ourselves is “Am I able?” Ability is the key word here because there are times when our symptoms can prevent us from caring for ourselves as well as we’d like.

Although we often think of self-care as something we do, it also means protecting our thought life. Nothing good comes from feeling ashamed when you can’t get out of bed or can’t concentrate because of racing thoughts.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to people who don’t have a diagnosis and let go of the messages from our culture that tell us productivity defines our value as a person. We need to be more gentle with ourselves and accept the truth–even if we don’t “feel” it’s true–that we have great value because we are God‘s creation and are loved unconditionally by Him.

After being diagnosed with Bipolar 2, I spent many years telling myself that my life was less valuable because I could no longer work full-time or take part in all the activities I had before. I beat myself up for being lazy and not trying hard enough. I felt ashamed because I didn’t want to be around other people.

When I began to interact with like-minded people in our Fresh Hope group, I came to realize that they too felt “less than” after their diagnosis. I learned from them that it’s okay to make caring for myself a priority. I felt understood and no longer needed to hide in shame.

I’ve come to accept that I’m not the same person I was before being diagnosed. But you know what? Neither is anyone else. Everyone grows and changes over time whether they have a diagnosis or not.

I’m learning to focus on the things I’m able to do, activities that are fulfilling yet keep me mentally stable. I work evenings part-time so I don’t have to get up early and I volunteer in smaller but just as valuable ways.

Another way I care for myself is by giving back to people like myself who live with the challenges of a mental health condition. In 2012, I put my personal journey into words when I wrote the book, “Stepping Out of Depression: Fresh Hope for Women Who Hurt” (available on Amazon). I wanted women to know they were not alone in dealing with depression, that true hope and healing are possible.

I also find fulfillment in giving encouragement and support to the wonderful people in our Fresh Hope group. Doing so helps me feel like I’m making a difference in my small corner of the world.

Caring for yourself involves more than eating right, exercising and reducing stress. It includes having supportive relationships and being involved in something that is meaningful to you. Self-care also means accepting the truth that you have value and purpose because of who you are, not what you do. You choose to let go of shameful thoughts and stop putting yourself down.

When we decide to make self-care a priority, life can become more satisfying and meaningful. Although we may not escape the ongoing challenges of our brain illness, we significantly improve our chances of living well in spite of it.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Self-Care for Ministry Leaders

Self-Care for Ministry Leaders

On this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad Hoefs pours his heart out about his own struggles and personal journey with mental health and ministry. Speaking directly to those who are ministry leaders in the Christian church and who are suffering publicly, or quietly. If you need someone to talk to, or need help please email Brad personally at: pastorbrad@freshhope.us

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We encourage you to share this podcast with your friends via your social media connections.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

 

 

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group. 

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope, go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

 Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

How To Survive A Panic Attack When It Strikes

How To Survive A Panic Attack When It Strikes

By: Stan Popovich

Do you experience panic attacks and do not know what to do? A person can experience a panic attack when they least expect it. This can cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for the person.

As a result, here are six easy steps a person can follow when a panic attack strikes unexpectedly and how to overcome anxiety.

1.Take A Break: The first thing a person must do when experiencing a panic attack is to stop whatever they are doing. A panic attack can be very uncomfortable and can affect a person’s everyday thinking. Take a break to help regain your sense of comfort.

2.Take Deep Breaths: A person should take some deep breaths to help feel better and to get rid of some of the excessive fear and anxiety. There are also many kinds of breathing exercises a person can learn to follow with the help of a mental health counselor. Taking some deep breaths can help a person relax right away.

3.Distract Yourself: A person should try to distract themselves from the panic they are experiencing. A person could get some fresh air, listen to some music, take a brisk walk, read the newspaper, or do something relaxing that will give them a fresh perspective on things.

4.Get The Facts Of Your Situation: Many people feel like they are going to die when they experience a panic attack for the first time. The fact is that you will be ok and that it takes a few minutes for the anxiety to go away. Talk to a counselor and get the facts of what a panic attack is and what you can do when a panic attack occurs.

5.Don’t Dwell on Your Thoughts: A person must not dwell or focus on their thoughts during a panic attack. The more a person tries to reason out their thoughts the longer a panic attack will last. Read some positive statements from your favorite self-help book to help overcome your negative thoughts during a panic attack.

6.Get Help: It is important to talk to a qualified professional in order to learn how to survive a panic attack. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with any panic attacks that may occur in the future.

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Choosing Hope in the Face of Hopelessness

Choosing Hope in the Face of Hopelessness

Hopelessness is serious. Every day people fall into the hopeless hole of hopelessness due to their struggle with a mental health issue. Hopelessness begins to knock at the door of one’s heart when you feel and believe that you have no future. It happens so easily, and it can take root all too fast. Each time we face one of life’s interruptions which change our perceived future hopelessness can settle in and live rent free in our hearts and minds.

Over 20 years ago I faced a life-altering interruption due to having bipolar disorder. At that time I was pastoring one of the fastest growing churches in my denomination. However, following that painful manic episode, which had interrupted my life, I was asked to resign. It was earth-shattering. My position and the church had become my identity. I was devastated to the point of complete hopelessness. I had lost my future. Hopelessness had set in. And the deep dark hole of depression became a shameful guilt place of familiarity for me; months and months of severe depression followed.

For years prior to this interruption I had felt as though I had a monster inside of me that I had to manage.

The more stress I experienced with pastoring a growing church, the more impossible it was to control the monster within me. More times than not, the monster was controlling me. So, when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I found out that the monster had a name. And strangely enough, a small ray of hope began to break through the hopelessness what had swallowed me whole.

Why would there be a small ray of hope following my diagnosis?   After all, usually people see the diagnosis of bipolar disorder as the difficult thing to accept. Well, it was because of the people around me who helped me to see that the diagnosis and treatment of my bipolar disorder were a way back to having a future. It was the idea that the bipolar could be treated and I could have a future poked a small pinhole of hope into the darkness of hopelessness. It was not an easy journey, but it was more than worth it. With that small pinhole of hope, I could see a way forward. I began to grieve what I had lost and began to embrace a new and different future; believing that I could live well in spite of having bipolar disorder.

Dr. Sean Lopez, the author of Making Hope Happen, has done extensive research on hope for over 14 years. His research supports what I experienced. When I thought I had no future, hopelessness set in and took over. And when I could see the way to a future, hope began to start. And the clearer the future became for me, the more hope I felt.

Interestingly enough, hope can be borrowed, shared and it can be caught! Think about it, if you hang around a lot of hopeless friends, you will begin to feel hopeless. And if you hang out with people who are filled with hope you will begin to feel hopeful.

So, I have a question for you: How is your hope tank doing? Do you feel like you can see a way forward? If not, do you potentially need to let go of the future that as you thought it would be, grieve it and let it go? Do you need to embrace the new potential future? There’s no doubt that doing this is a process. It is not like switching a light switch on. But, it is a choice.

Hope is truly a choice. For me as a Christian, hope is not only a choice, but it is sure and certain. Paul reminds us that no matter what our circumstances might be there is a future because the Lord will work all things out together for our good. (Romans 8:28) So, I certainly may not “feel” hopeful, but I choose to believe Romans 8:28 and that means that there is a future. It may not have been the future as I thought it would be, but it is a future.

So, again, my question is: how is your hope tank? Is your hope tank empty? Is being a caregiver sucking the hope right out of you? Do you see a way forward into the future?

Are you strong enough to make the choice of hope? If not, I have some hope you can borrow.See, I know because of the storms I’ve been through in my life that God is at work in all things. He is with you. He has not left you. He won’t leave you. And He is FOR you and your entire family! He has a plan. It may not be the life you and I planned prior to bipolar showing up, but in spite of us having bipolar disorder He has a plan!

Everything may not be “good” right now, but all is well because of Him. He has heard every single one of your tears as a liquid prayer.   Look for that little tiny bit of light coming through the “pin” hole poking through the hopelessness you might be feeling. Choose hope. Choose it minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day and your feelings will begin to catch up. There is a future and joy is included in it.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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8 Things to Remember in Tough Times

8 Things to Remember in Tough Times
On this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health Pastor Brad Hoefs talks about what to do when going through tough times. Brad takes 8 things from the law of attraction and tweaks them a bit so that the same rules apply, but are instead Christ centered.

We encourage you to share this podcast with your friends via your social media connections.

 

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After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

 

 

 

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group. 

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope, go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/ 

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

 Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

Check out this episode!

When Choosing Joy Is Not That Easy By: Katie Dale

When Choosing Joy Is Not That Easy By: Katie Dale

By: Katie Dale

Understanding the Phrase, “Choose Joy”

Let’s be real for a second. When I hear “choose joy” I think of denying my current emotions.

I also think it’s a blanket statement that could confuse people, especially Christians with mental illness. We could easily start thinking we must feel happy and choose to think positively all the time, despite our chemical imbalances and episodes of severe depression.

I don’t want to get rid of the phrase, but I’d like to provide what I feel is some much-needed context, much like when we consider the Lord’s command that “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, ESV) The Lord knows we can’t simply be perfect, otherwise we wouldn’t have needed Jesus’ sacrifice; but He does command us to strive for perfection, and just as we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), the Lord want us to consistently rely on and choose His joy as our strength, especially during tough times, when we don’t have joy inside ourselves.

What Is Joy?

So let’s define “joy”:

(According to Merriam Webster Dictionary)

“a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : DELIGHT
b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : GAIETY
c : a state of happiness or felicity : BLISS
d: a source or cause of delight”

In the context of the Christian life, joy is when our saved souls rejoice and take comfort in knowing we’re given the promises of God. It’s also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), a quality of contentment, preceded by love, followed by peace. It’s liberating. It gives us strength when we come to the tough times in life.

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, joy is great, and I want the joy of the Lord. But, come on, it’s not that easy!”  And you’d be right. But while it may seem incredibly difficult during our darkest moments, joy is always there for the taking.

However, it’s not a light switch we can just turn on and off.

When Feeling Joyful Isn’t An Option

In clinical depression, our joy can be stolen. We can lose our confidence. We can forget the contented feelings and state of peace. As our brains become more chemically imbalanced, and we’re drowning in an almost debilitating excess of sadness, “choosing joy” can become what feels impossible. I’m not saying that there is a point of no return, or that once you lose your joy it’s gone forever…on the contrary, it is up to us to seek out help for our condition that impairs our livelihood and wellbeing.

Feeling the emotion of joy may be all that a clinically depressed person wants. When we focus instead on the source of joy – namely, Jesus – things are put into perspective.

We can, we should, look to Jesus for healing and rejoice in the sense of “I’m standing on His promises to redeem my mind and restore my joy.” Though, there is a distinct difference between “choosing” to believe God’s promises, and recognizing our feelings when they are influenced by an illness of the mind. In mental illness, the feeling of joy can be stolen and its presence forgotten. It’s at these times we have to focus less on the feeling we can’t attain, and re-focus on the source of true Joy.

Sometimes, the feeling of joy is not an option because severe depression has beaten our minds to a pulp.

Often we simply resign ourselves to letting depression take its course, i.e. believing the enemy’s lies about ourselves (“you’re worthless”), choosing to live unwisely and making foolish choices in life (reaping behaviors and feelings sown by negative thoughts). In these cases, we forfeit joy.

How To Tap Into The Source Of Joy

It can be impossible to choose the feeling of joy in severe depression, but that’s when we need to focus less on the feeling aspect of joy, and focus on the source aspect of joy.

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV, tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

How Paul continues this passage hints at how to rejoice, and find that peace:

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV) 

The key to rejoicing is to think on those virtues.

Notice how in John 16:24 (ESV), Jesus said, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Again, God is encouraging an inquiring, a petitioning stance from His children.

A Process, Not A Light Switch

In the darkest times we need to focus not on feeling joy, but on the Lord. Through focusing on the promises of God, the blessings of God, the victory of God, that peace and joy will be sown back into your heart.  But it will still be striving, as the verses above say, “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” and “ask”…it’s not a light switch, it’s a process in the hard times, but the Lord promises He’ll bring you through it and restore your joy.

So instead of telling yourself or others to “choose joy,” consider the implications of this message, and reconsider. As with any feelings of happiness or contentment, these don’t originate from the pursuit of them in and of themselves. Rather, feelings of joy and happiness follow a thought life that dwells on the richness of the goodness of God. Feelings follow thoughts, so redirect “choose joy” to, may I suggest, “think Jesus.” May that be your path to finding joy. That’s certainly our choice to make: we do or don’t dwell on Jesus.

 

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

-Helen Howarth Lemmel

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Leave “Flat-Lined” Emotions Behind & Overcome The Fear Of ‘Feeling’

Leave “Flat-Lined” Emotions Behind & Overcome The Fear Of ‘Feeling’

By Brad Hoefs

It’s called a “decrescendo” in music: a gradual reduction in force or loudness. It’s part of what creates the beauty of music, crescendos and decrescendos, softness, loudness, intensity, fast and slow beats. Without these things and a beautiful melody line music would be lifeless. Well, that’s how I was feeling just months after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and adjusting to my medicines.

My doctor heard me loud and clear when I kept saying that I didn’t know if I could live feeling so lifeless. He kept telling me at each of my appointments that I needed to give it time. But, I felt as though I was a medicated zombie- just blah. I missed the ups, downs, intensity, the fast and slow beats yet, I was scared to death to feel anything of an up or down, sad or happy feeling. I feared that feeling nothing would be the permanent “music of my life”.

The doctor kept assuring me that he needed to get my mood stabilized. Stabilized? I felt so stabilized that it was as though I had emotional rigor mortis! At about four months into being medicated my doctor thought it was time to adjust the initial doses of mood stabilizer. He adjusted it just a bit. And I began to feel a little. And the little that I felt was extreme sadness and regret. It was awful. I told him if this was all I was going to feel, I’d rather not feel. He encouraged me to work through my grief and sadness and disruption my last manic episode had caused in my life and the life of my family.

For months I worked on the toxic remorse I had regarding what had happened during my manic episode. My loved ones forgave and began to move forward. I was stuck. All I felt was toxic remorse and depression. I was scared to death to feel happy; that it would trigger an onset of mania. It seemed as though my emotions and feelings had flat-lined. My feelings and emotions had descended to no longer blah, but now nothing but a pounding sadness. So, the doctor introduced a bit more of antidepressant into my “medicine-cocktail” and I continued to work with my therapist regarding my remorse, shame and sadness regarding all that had happened during my mania. But, the little new pill seemed to help just a bit.

It was approximately a year into my recovery that I was still feeling quite emotionally flat-lined and complaining about it to my doctor. I would tell him at each my brief visits with him that the range of my feelings and emotions was so narrow that I was not sure that I had a pulse anymore. His response shocked me! He said, “Brad, it’s time for you to stop fearing your feelings and emotions. You are a human being. You are going to have feelings and emotions, ups and downs. You’re going to feel sad and happy and blah. Get out of your head and start feeling! Start living! And no, you won’t handle all of your feelings and emotions perfectly. You’ll be like the rest of us, human. Allow yourself to laugh. Stop taking yourself so seriously!” And with that “gust” of advice he told me to lighten up, take my medicine and live.

The doctor was right. At first I maybe had just a little too much mood stabilizer and not enough anti-depressant. But, my shame and regret became toxic remorse and began to emotionally flat-line me to the point where I was frozen emotionally; at best I was barely coping. I certainly was not thriving. I feared becoming too happy; too sad; too mad; too anything! I was emotionally constipated. So, I took my doctor’s advice. I stopped trying to think my way through everything. I began to live, allowing myself to feel again. I began to feel like a human being again. In fact, today I thrive. Yes, I have some ups and downs, like everyone has. And no, I’m not perfect in how I always handle my emotions. After all, I’m human. But, my emotions and feelings do not interrupt my ability to live.

Throughout the last six and half years of facilitating a Fresh Hope support group I have seen a lot of folks who are emotionally flat-lined. Sometimes it’s due to being over medicated and other times it is because they are like I, fearing to feel too much at the risk of an escalating mood. And many times it is due to them getting stuck in toxic remorse or toxic grief over having a mental health issue. Of course, there’s a host of many other reasons that emotions and feelings can flat-line.

If you are feeling emotionally flat-lined, not feeling, no emotions (emotionally constipated) I’d suggest a couple of things to consider:

  • Are you over medicated? Talk with your doctor about it. If your doctor is not willing to listen to what is going on…do you need a second opinion? Sometimes doctors simply listen to “key” words that the patient uses without ever exploring with the patient what those “key” words mean to the patient.
  • Are you keeping yourself from feeling too much of anything out of fear that your loved ones expect you to perfectly handle your emotions and feelings at all times; otherwise you are just being “bipolar”? If so talk with your therapist about this, begin to work through it. Your loved ones may need some help in understanding what issues are due to having bipolar disorder and what issues are due to being a human!
  • If you do not have a supportive home environment I would strongly recommend that you find a positive, wellness focused and driven mental health support group either in person or online.
  • Set goals for your life. Without goals we become hopeless. When you and I have no place to move to in life we loose our hope. You need to have goals, what do you want out of your life?

I suspect that you can help me with this list of suggestions. How have you moved from flat-lined emotions and feelings to living again? What are your frustrated with? Let’s help one another!

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

 

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An Interview with Evan Owens

An Interview with Evan Owens

On this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health Pastor Brad Hoefs talks with Evan Owens about the groups he and his wife started for Veterans and First Responders called Reboot and Recharge (RebootRecovery.com) with over 250 courses around the world Reboot has been a place where faith collides with trauma and souls have been healed.

We encourage you to share this podcast with your friends via your social media connections!

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After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

 

 

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope, go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

 

Getting Hopeful: Seven Reasons to Start a Fresh Hope Group in Your Church By: Katie Dale

Getting Hopeful: Seven Reasons to Start a Fresh Hope Group in Your Church By: Katie Dale

 By: Katie Dale

  1. The first place Christians with mental health issues go for help is to their church

Think about 25% of your church. One in four Americans suffers from a mental health challenge in their lifetime. If the staggering number of 1 in 4 doesn’t quite hit home, think about times in your life you have had a meltdown, a breakdown or an experience of large enough proportion that you couldn’t function 100% because of an emotionally and mentally challenging time. Then think about the guidance many of us seek out from our pastor or other church member who appears to have it more “together.” According to a Lifeway Research poll, the percentage of churches that are actually equipped to respond to such distress is 3%.

The church is a beautiful body of redeemed souls, yet our minds are still subject to the effects of sin in our fallen world. This is a truth we can’t ignore. Which is why it is so crucial that the church proactively and appropriately responds to hurting members that are in need of attention and proper treatment of their mental health conditions.

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is such a way to assist in the healing process. Having a Fresh Hope group in place in your church will empower participants to live a full, rich and faith-filled life in spite of their mental health challenges.

2. Fresh Hope empowers your church to reach out and minister many at one time

Fresh Hope groups are offered through local churches and online mental health support groups sponsored by local churches and ministries. As part of their mission, Fresh Hope also supports and encourages faith leaders to help their faith community through resources for pastors such as webinars.

Churches that facilitate these groups are trained and certified by Fresh Hope in a 8-hour online training course with quizzes followed by a personal interview. They also offer free phone and online support and a facilitator website to help troubleshoot problems and receive peer advice on leading a group. They provide promotional materials (videos, press releases, sample articles) and curriculum for facilitators and participants. New content is offered regularly to help empower group participants in their recoveries.

Groups usually meet weekly for up to an hour and half each session and are not limited to a specific number of participants. Both those with a diagnosis as well as their loved ones attend the group together for the first half of the meeting.

3. Fresh Hope leads to healing and a better quality of life

The proven track record of Fresh Hope groups’ success is shown in that:

  • 96% of weekly participants attribute their participation as the reason they now feel more hopeful than prior to their participation in Fresh Hope
  • 92% who have attended other mental health support groups say that Fresh Hope has been more positive and helpful in their recovery than any previous groups
  • 86% of those who were suicidal prior to coming to Fresh Hope report that they have not been suicidal since participating
  • 88% say that Fresh Hope has been extremely important in their recovery
  • 71% who have been hospitalized prior to attending Fresh Hope have had no returns to hospitals since attending the support groups

 

4. Fresh Hope is created by a pastor who has been there, experienced that

Pastor Brad Hoefs was diagnosed with Bipolar I himself, and drawing on his first-hand experiences, has been able to relate to lead others to a place of healing through six tenets that he has composited based on Scripture that have been foundational for living well in spite of a mental health diagnosis.

The tenets are for both the person who has the diagnosis and the loved ones of those who have a diagnosis. Each tenet is based upon a Scripture, read at the beginning of each meeting. They are not “steps,” but rather building blocks of wellness. They have not been created by a doctor or therapist but by Pastor Brad Hoefs who “discovered” these faith-based principles on his road to wellness.

5. Fresh Hope is facilitated by peers who have mental health issues

Fresh hope support groups are peer-led, where members encourage one another under the guidance of a facilitator, and have up to 4 facilitators, with at least one with a mental health diagnosis. The meeting format includes both a large and small group experience, where members can share as little or as much of their “journey” as they desire.

6. Fresh Hope is more than just a peer support group – they are not a constant vent session

Fresh Hope has a high regard for the processing that goes on in a support group that is not curriculum-driven (considered as short-term interventions which research shows is only helpful in the short term) but rather is an ongoing peer-to-peer support which allows people to actually process together mental health recovery approaches as adults truly learn through interaction, not being taught. (If recovery could be taught in 12 weeks, A. A. would have been doing that years ago).

They also have a high regard for how the majority of adults learn and that is by them interacting, which is what happens in an authentic safe support group setting. While venting is a necessary thing in recovery, it cannot be the only thing; otherwise those in the group simply get worse and not better.

7. Fresh Hope has proven success

Self-reported results of those who attend Fresh Hope groups meetings for six weeks showed that:

  • 78% of the participants say they are extremely hopeful about being able to live a full and rich life in spite of their mental health diagnosis since coming to Fresh Hope. Another 22% say they are “becoming” more hopeful about living a full and rich life. 0% say they don’t feel hopeful since attending.
  • 97% say that the fact that Fresh Hope is faith-based is extremely important to them
  • 94% report they have a better understanding of their diagnosis since attending Fresh Hope
  • 96% report being more compliant to their medical treatment and using wellness skills in their recovery since attending Fresh Hope

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the types of groups offered?

  • Fresh Hope for Mental Health groups
      • Churches or local ministries start and sponsor these groups
      • Facilitators are trained and certified by Fresh Hope
      • Local and online groups are offered
  • Fresh Hope for Teens (FreshHope4Teens.com)
      • Churches or local ministries start and sponsor these groups
      • Facilitators (usually young adults) are trained and certified by Fresh Hope
      • Parents meet in a separate group
      • Teens may bring their friends with them
  • Fresh Hope for Living Free (FreshHope4LivingFree.com)
    • Fresh Hope for Living Free is both a curriculum that can be taught within the correctional setting and also includes a group that is on the “outside” for when inmate/prison is out of jail/prison
    • Chaplains in local jails, prisons, correctional facilities may use the curriculum and a local ministry or church starts the “outside” support group for those getting out of jail/prison along with their loved ones

Who can start groups?

Local churches, ministries (homeless shelters, half-way houses, etc.) start our groups

How to start a group?

Email us at info@FreshHope.us

Katie Dale is the mind behind BipolarBrave.com and the e-book GAMEPLAN: A Mental Health Resource Guide. She works full time at a behavioral outpatient clinic, ministering to those with mental illness. She can be found on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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