Samaritan Counseling Center To Hold Conference For Clergy;
Will Address the Region’s Opioid Epidemic
Newman Center at the University at Buffalo, North Campus
The Samaritan Counseling Center (SCC) will hold our region’s first-ever conference designed to help clergy members work with their congregations and members to address addiction within their families and among their loved ones.
The conference will specifically provide strategies to assist clergy in supporting those with substance abuse disorders and their family members. Clergy may then follow up by starting support groups for their congregations if none currently exist. Counseling will be made available to those in need through the Samaritan Counseling Center and clergy will be encouraged to make referrals. Resources and support services for families suffering addiction will also be given to clergy for future use.
In December, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a landmark report on the severity of America’s addiction problem, stating that 90% of those who have addiction problems are not receiving any treatment at all. Samaritan Counseling Center wants to help this population, and their families, as well as the clergy, pastors and community leaders who make a difference in their respective constituencies.
The opioid epidemic has hit our region hard. Last month proved deadly in Erie County, with public officials reporting at least 42 suspected opioid overdose deaths, half of them since Dec. 19 and six alone on Dec. 27.
Erie County seemed destined to end the year with 357 confirmed or suspected opioid-related deaths, over 100 more deaths than in 2015 and nearly triple that of 2014. The soaring total could have been worse, according to local officials, were it not for initiatives undertaken by government, health officials and the medical community. (The Buffalo News, January 3, 2017)
The Samaritan Counseling Center has provided the community with life-changing interventions and the resources for ongoing recovery and resiliency for the past 60 years–in a spiritual, faith- oriented context–in 15 satellite locations in Western New York. The SCC focuses on the mental health of people who are lower income and underprivileged—and thereby, unable to afford more expensive types of counseling. Assistance is targeted toward those who are at risk, have limited funds and/or lack insurance coverage for counseling. Community members who might normally fall through the cracks receive the helping hand and assistance they deserve.
In addition to counseling services, the center provides consultations, training, workshops, and educational programs for physicians, clergy, agencies, congregations, and groups.
Further information about the conference:
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: An Education, Engagement and Empowerment Workshop for Clergy
January 18, 2017 at the Newman Center at the University at Buffalo
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost $10—Lunch Provided
Speakers: Sally Yageric- Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Theresa Walker-MS; M.Div.
Janet Hubbard- LMSW, Board Certified Chaplain, M.Div.
Penny McKenna- LMHC
- Rev. Mary Ann Kelly—Recovery Service and Bible Study-Central Park United Methodist Church
- Rev. Howard Boswell—Weekly Worship Service held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue and Kenmore Presbyterian Church
- Cheryll Moore—Erie County Department of Health
- Representative from the Niagara County Department of Health
- Jodie Altman—Renaissance House-Youth Recovery Services
- Pete Dempsey-Simm—New Hope Center of the Episcopal Church
Space is limited so participants should register as soon as possible at www.sccwny.com/events or by calling Rev. Jan Hubbard at 868-2408 or the Samaritan office at 743-9117.
Funding for the conference was provided in part by the Lutheran Church Extension Society.