Restoring Lives hosting mental health panel June 22

Plamedie Ifasso
The Daily Ardmoreite

Restoring Lives is hosting a mental health forum June 22 at Southern Tech discussing the relationship between mental health services and their faith. 

The forum will consist of six panelists, all of who specialize in ministry or mental health and healthcare. Crystal Douglas with Restoring Lives said the organization decided to host the discussion to show how faith shouldn’t be a barrier to therapy. 

“To me, some African Americans don’t believe in therapy,” Douglas said. “They believe as long as they have Jesus that they have therapy, but Jesus wants us to be healed whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. He has also equipped other people to assist us in healing and getting our feelings out.” 

The forum will start at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. Interested participants can ask the panelists questions in person or through Zoom. Douglas said each of the panelists bring something important to the topic of religion and mental health services. 

“We have a pastor in case someone wants to speak about the biblical parts of therapy,” Douglas said. “Then we have a registered nurse, and she can talk about the pharmaceutical part. We have a lady who specializes in infant mental health, and how certain things affect infants as well, especially if the mother is pregnant.” 

Shenita Jones, CEO of Restoring Lives, said she hopes anyone interested in mental health will come to the event, but she especially hopes people of color, specifically African Americans and religious or spiritual people come. Jones said it is often difficult for some to get access to mental health services like therapy because of costs, but she wants to help both religious and non-religious people find helpful resources. 

“We are creating a resource to hand out that night and especially a resource for African Americans practitioners over the state of Oklahoma,” Jones said. “I have received an increase of people desiring to have African American therapists coming out of the pandemic and also racial awareness being brought to the forefront in 2020.”

For future events, Jones said she is always looking for people to be advocates for Restoring Lives. Advocating for the organization means fundraising, donating, supporting the organization on social media and providing the agency with speaking opportunities, Jones said.  

All donations can be to the organization's Cashapp, $RestoringLives, and Venmo, @restoringlives or by texting RESTORENOW to 44321, and any questions about how to help can be sent to hello@restoringlivesnow.org.