By Elizabeth Hartmann | Echo
Music fights against depression in a free concert by Jon Troast followed by a mental health discussion panel on March 8 at 7 p.m. at Pierce Upland United Methodist Church (Pierce UMC).
With the rise of depression, anxiety, and suicide and the church's close proximity to Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan, the Rev. Rob Neel and the director of children's ministry Kevin Duecker, felt this concert would meet a need in the community.
A few months ago, three teens committed suicide within 10 days of each other in Grant County. Duecker said it breaks his heart and makes him wonder what is going on with teens these days.
"That issue of suicide seems to be on the rise in our community," Duecker said. "It seems like the church of all places needs to be a safe place to talk about that and be open and honest."
According to the Pierce UMC website, the concert environment will provide a welcoming environment for people of all ages. The discussion panel afterward will be made up of credentialed counselors who will help lead the discussion on mental health.
One of the panelists, Dan Blosser, pastor of adult ministries at Upland Community Church, believes the audience will benefit from this concert by putting names to faces of local practitioners, both mental health professionals and pastors.
Blosser also wants people to understand how pastors and mental health professionals do different things, but work as allies.
"There remain persistent misperceptions about what mental health is and how it relates to body and soul care," Blosser said. "Quality conversations with practitioners help to educate the public - hopefully with the result that people can know their options for care without fear."
Although a lot of people struggling with depression may have had negative church experiences dealing with the topic, Duecker hopes this concert will help set up a good dialogue for people to become informed and gain empathy for those who are struggling.
Duecker believes this safe environment can provide hope and encourage people to speak up and develop more regular conversations about mental health issues.
With suicide numbers climbing, Duecker said Christians need show love and shine the light. He wants to do that in a fun way by combining it with a concert and music.
Hopefully, this concert and discussion will help heal the hurting hearts in the community.