ORANGEBURG, S.C. — As the nation recognizes May as 'National Mental Health Awareness Month,' Claflin University's Granville Hicks Leadership Academy is inviting South Carolina clergy to address the pandemic's impact on children.
"When I was thinking about the needs of the clergy during this time, I thought about how we often think about the adult congregation," explained Claflin Professor Dr. Arlecia Simmons. "Sometimes, the children get left out. We need to take a moment on how we can care for their mental and emotional health. It's been a rough year for all of us, but when we think about our little people, I'm not sure if we addressed some of their needs as much."
The virtual session will be led by marriage and family associate Nakisha Randolph on Thursday. Faith leaders will be taught different skills and methods to learn how children have been navigating during the pandemic.
"Some of the things I remember and still seeing as it relates to the pandemic is the grief and the loss they've experienced," explained Randolph. "I'm not just talking about family members who may have died from the virus, but the fact of losing relationships and the social connections they had before."
Randolph says the purpose of the event isn't to turn faith leaders into therapists, but instead to educate them on creating more opportunities that incorporate mental wellness.
"We need to do more things to incorporate mental wellness activities," expressed Randolph. "Whether that's self-care, teaching them how to keep up with themselves and their mental state, that's going to be important for them to do."
If you're interested, you can still register for Thursday's event by emailing Dr. Arlecia Simmons at email@example.com or call 803-535-5186.