- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A conference in Jackson is focusing on how church leaders can respond to mental health needs in their congregations.

Belhaven University is sponsoring “Mind, Body, Spirit: Connecting Faith and Wellness” on Friday and Saturday.

The university says in a news release that one of its research teams spent six months talking to people at local churches to evaluate challenges in responding to people with mental health conditions.

Bradford Smith, director of Belhaven’s Institute for International Care and Counsel, says they found that “pastors feel ill-equipped to preach and teach on mental health.”

Among the speakers at the conference is Dr. Sidney Hankerson, assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Surgeons and Physicians, who conducts research on churches and mental health.

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