Waiting for a mental health gem? Wondering how you were going to work on your heart, your mind, and your soul fitness to do your best at the Greatest Commandment? This is it–Living Life.  Our new six-week, faith-based, skills support group that Rev. Stephanie Allen (MDiv, MSW) and Kevin Jones (MAC, PLPC) have crafted collaboratively is going to lift people higher.  It begins June 6th, limited to twelve.  So, Stephanie—a pastor, social worker, and now L4TD facilitator– and Kevin—a theologically trained counselor and L4TD facilitator–offer two more unique mental health perspectives this month on faith and mental health.

Mental Health From the Perspective of Light 4 the Darkness’s Group Facilitators

Rev. Stephanie Allen

Rev. Stephanie Allen, MDiv, MSW,

Newest L4TD Facilitator

A go-to: There was a restaurant near the airport that my parents really enjoyed. We celebrated so many things there. Whenever I feel stressed, I go to the cell phone lot, and watch the planes come in and it brings me peace.

Go-to skills? The art of listening has been most effective. Often, we listen to respond but not to understand. We can learn a lot from others when we quiet our voices to understand theirs.


Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones, MAC, PLPC, Lead L4TD Facilitator:

A go-to: I am passionate about the interplay of physical and mental health.  I regularly attend a CrossFit Gym and enjoy hiking and running on my days off.

Go-to skills? Slowing down—many of us are running through life. Somatic techniques like deep breathing, body scans, and tense-release exercises help slow us down.

Learning to re-parent ourselves by identifying and changing our relationship to our inner child and inner adolescent.


How does faith inform your mental health and how you care for L4TD members?

Stephanie: Faith is my foundation. It is the thing that I’m elevated from, and the thing life brings me back down to. Without a solid faith I wouldn’t be able to help others bear their weight. Nor would I know the one who is able to keep us from falling.

Kevin: We are all sinners on the path of sanctification.   Faith teaches me to impart grace for myself and for others.  Because of my faith I believe nobody is “too far gone”.  Nobody is “too broken” or “too messed up”.   We all have parts of ourselves we do not like.  Healing begins when we start to shift from a place of shame and judgement to one of grace and hope.


Hardest part of your mental health?

Stephanie: There can be a challenge in supporting others when you find yourself in need of support. Moments like this I reflect on what I know to be true. The truth is God is still God regardless of my circumstance or situation.

Kevin: Depression and anxiety have been an intimate part of my entire life.  Depression robs me of emotional flexibility and darkens the energy around me.  This darkness not only impacts me but also family and friends; this is the hardest part because it leads to loneliness and isolation, which worsens the depression.


Where do you find hope?

Stephanie: Tasha Layton- Look What You’ve Done 

Kevin: Nature: 1. Trees are solid, grounded, and yet flexible.  They blow in the wind but do not lose their roots.  They live and die each year as the cold dark of winter threatens their very being.   2. The Stars have shined for thousands of lifetimes; this steadiness gives me peace and hope.


 What role has L4TD played in your journey?

Stephanie: None yet.{Her first group, Living Life, starts with Kevin co-facilitating, 5:30-7pm Tuesday June 6th. Pre-registration required for this 6-week skills-based support group.}

Kevin: L4TD has taught me to view church differently. From hymnals and sermons to a place where people can come as they are, accepted whether they are in pain or joy, belief or skepticism; L4TD is a place of grace and hope.


Does your awareness of your race impact your mental health or the way you give care?

Stephanie: Being aware of my race means that I am also aware that the world we live in doesn’t love me the same as others. However, remaining stagnant in such a place is not beneficial to my own happiness. I believe this helps me to see others who may be in the shadows and help them find the light.

Kevin: Yes.  As a white man, I am aware the impact my words have on others. I am aware that I have been complicit in societal and relational oppression of others. I am passionate about providing emotionally corrective experiences, being especially intentional and sensitive while caring for those of different races/identities.  I want to be a part of the repair, not a continued part of the rupture.

If interested, watch Stephanie and Kevin’s 90 second intro video for Living Life.

More information about: Living Life, the new 6-week, Tuesday 5:30-7pm, faith-based skills group. Email Stephanie (stephanie.allen1021@gmail.com) or Kevin (Kjones@chesterfieldca.com) with your questions.

Due to barriers of stigma and cost, L4TD is the first stop for many on their journey toward mental health.  Please partner with us as we come alongside folks with the resources they need.

If you would like to support the work of Stephanie and Kevin, please click here.

Your May gifts will be matched up to $10,000 toward the need of $50,000 by December.

Check out all our L4TD groups on Meetup.com.

L4TD Extra Credit for Pentecost

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