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St. Raphael’s to host first annual Hope and Healing conference

For more than a decade, St. Raphael Counseling Center has worked hard to help thousands of people and restore families and parish communities through counseling and mental health services.

In this year of uncertainty, during which most of us have been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, many people are experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression. In an effort to help, St. Raphael Counseling Center, in association with Dr. Michelle Connor Harris and St. Thomas More Parish, will host its first annual Hope and Healing Catholic Mental Health Conference, which will take place on Saturday, September 26 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Englewood. This conference will explore everyday metal health issues and provide practical tools for stress reduction for teens, parents, and adults.

“Through the Hope and Healing conference I want to normalize the experience of mental health issues and help educate both teens and their parents so that they do not feel afraid when it comes to mental health,” said Dr. Michelle Connor Harris, Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Director at St. Raphael Counseling, to the Denver Catholic. “I also want people to leave this conference with tangible things they can do to help improve their mental health.”

The event will begin with Holy Mass and will be followed by mental health talks by guest speakers, many of which are professional counselors who work for St. Raphael’s. Dr. Connor Harris will be sharing the origins of mental illness, how it’s diagnosed, and how therapy can help. Dr. Jim Langley, Executive Director of St. Raphael Counseling, will address the need for Catholic therapy and how the spiritual and psychological aspects work collectively. Kate Johnson will discuss Stress Management for students and Kevin Cure will host a break-out session for parents to learn about how important a healthy marriage is to the mental health of the whole family. Katie Bardsley will lead participants in practicing relaxation exercises to help reduce anxiety and tension. The conference will also feature a special talk by Jo Holt, Director of Marriage and Family Life at St. Thomas More, and her daughter, Anna, who will share their experiences with depression, suicidal ideation, and mental health.

“We will discuss suicide and remember those we know who have died by suicide,” added Dr. Connor Harris. “This is probably the most difficult topic to address, but it is also extremely important that we have open communication about suicide. So many Catholic families in the Archdiocese of Denver have been impacted by suicide and we need to address it and use our faith to help us heal.”

Anyone ages 13 and up are invited to the Hope and Healing Catholic Mental Health Conference, completely free of charge. Due to social distancing requirements, space will be limited, therefore people are encouraged to register as soon as possible. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the celebration of Holy Mass and will conclude at 2 p.m.

“Teens should bring their parents and parents should bring their teens – you don’t necessarily have to sit together!” Dr. Connor Harris concluded.

Founded in 2009, St. Raphael’s Counseling offers services, ranging from family and couples therapy, counseling services for depression issues, anxiety, addictions and other struggles. They also offer marriage preparation, psychological evaluations for seminary applicants, and counseling for priests and religious communities. The programs are focused on providing assistance to those most in need and religious affiliations. St. Raphael provides outreach and education through presentations and retreats that integrate psychology and spirituality.

Register for the First Annual Hope and Healing Catholic Mental Health Conference HERE.

For more information about St. Raphael Counseling services visit their website: www.straphaelcounseling.com

Rocio Madera
Rocio is the Communications Specialist for both El Pueblo Católico and Denver Catholic.
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