ABOUT THE COURSE
How can a church become a sanctuary—a place where individuals living with mental health challenges feel safe, supported, and a sense of belonging? The Sanctuary Course was created to inspire and equip communities of faith that are asking this important question. Developed in consultation with mental health professionals, theologians, and people with lived experience, this eight-session study guide explores key mental health topics and examines meaningful ways to offer companionship, support recovery, and promote wellbeing.
The Sanctuary Course is a study guide for small groups, designed to raise awareness and start conversations in local churches regarding mental health. Your group might include:
- People with questions about mental health
- Mental health professionals with a wealth of knowledge to share
- Leaders who want to engage their community in mental health conversations
- People supporting loved ones with mental health problems
- People living with mental health problems
The Sanctuary Course is for anyone who wants to learn about faith and mental health. It requires no previous training or expertise—just a willingness to engage in dialogue with other believers. This course and films address difficult and sensitive topics, and may not be appropriate for a young audience. It is not recommended for people ages 17 and younger.
How do I access it?
You can access The Sanctuary Course for free on our resource portal. Simply create an account or login, then get started exploring the course and our other resources.
**NOTE for those who had a Sanctuary account prior to May 4, 2022: If you had an existing Sanctuary account and you have been actively using our resources in the last two years, you will receive an invite to set up a new account on this resource portal within the next couple weeks. A new account and password is required to access our resources. You cannot simply use your login and password from our old system due to privacy protections. However, you need not wait for an invite! If you wish to set up your new account now, click on the "Login" button on the resource portal and then "Don't have an account yet? Sign up" to set up your new account.
The coursebook defines key terms, presents relevant research, addresses common questions, and explores important concepts from three perspectives: the psychological, the social, and the theological. This reading, done in advance of group meetings, helps participants connect around the session’s topic using a shared framework and language.
The films elevate the voice of lived experience, emphasizing various aspects of the realities of living with mental health challenges. Mental health professionals, theologians, and church leaders contribute insights, helpful biblical integration, and ideas for community support. Participants watch the films together during group meetings. Note that films include content warnings; some participants may choose not to view certain films.
The discussion guides contain questions for your community to ponder together, along with opportunities for deeper reflection through art, poetry, prayers, and spiritual practices. These guides make facilitating The Sanctuary Course simple, as they provide a step-by-step process for group meetings and opportunity to engage more deeply with the content that is most meaningful for each group.
REV. MONICA COLEMAN, PHD, MDIV
MALCOLM GUITE, PHD
ED NG, PHD, R PSYCH
Mental Health Professionals
Pastors and Theologians
People with Lived Experience
relationships and supportive communities play a key role in recovery. This perspective gives the opportunity to examine unique ways that the Church can support mental health and wellbeing.
HOW DO I BEGIN?
The Sanctuary Course is available for free on our resource portal. Creating an account is simple, and then you can explore the materials of The Sanctuary Course and see how the course can benefit your community.
Getting started with talking about mental health or facilitating The Sanctuary Course in your community can feel intimidating, which is why we designed a Facilitator’s Guide specifically for facilitators of The Sanctuary Course. This PDF can be found in the downloadable materials for the course on our resource portal. We have also created a quick start page for facilitators on our resource portal. You can check it out here.