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General FAQs

Gateway to Hope consists of three training programs that equip individuals with the tools to help those with mental health challenges. Two of the trainings, specifically the Support Group Training and the Certified Mental Health Coach Training, are only offered online. Empower is offered both online and can be delivered in-person at your community in the Greater Houston area.

Gateway to Hope is a training program under the Hope and Healing Center & Institute. HHCI is a comprehensive mental health resource that offers education, training, clinical services and research.

If you or someone you know is facing mental illness and looking for help, go to our website https://mentalhealthgateway.org/topics-resources/find-providers/ to look for help near you.

If you are struggling and just want someone to talk to, the Houston Hope Line is available daily from 5-8 PM CST. Call (832) 831 PEER (7337). For more information on the Hope Line, go to the website https://houstonhopeline.com.

Visit our website www.MentalHealthGateway.org. At the top left you will see a blue tab labeled ‘Gateway to Hope’. Under that tab, you will see a drop-down menu that offers the different trainings.

To take the training, simply visit our website, www.mentalhealthgateway.org and click on Gateway to Hope. There you will find links for the trainings, and once you select a specific training program, you will be prompted to enter your basic contact information. The page will re-load automatically and you will have access to the training materials and videos. The Mental Health Coach Training is offered through our partnership with the American Association of Christian Counselors. To sign up for that training, apply for the Mental Health Coach scholarship through Light University and someone from their team will contact you.

Anyone over 18 can take our trainings.

It is recommended that you go through all three trainings to fully understand how to support those struggling with their mental health.

Empower Training FAQs

The Empower training is a 2-hour training where you will be equipped with the techniques for identifying mental illness, developing safe and effective situational responses, and building a network to quickly connect those in distress with professional care.

You can take the Empower training online at your own pace or in-person at a Faith Community in the Greater Houston area. We quarterly offer a Community Empower where you can attend the training with others from the Houston area.

Support Group Training FAQs

The Support Group training is an online evidence-based support group training to help you build and sustain a small support group within your faith community for individuals with mental illness as well as family members.

Our online Support Group Training is found on our website, www.MentalHealthGateway.org. There you will find the workbooks, Minds Transformed, Families Transformed and Hearts Transformed, as well as videos and power points to help you along the way.

To take the training, simply register by filling out your basic contact information, and the webpage will re-direct you to the Support Group Training resources. Once on the page, you will have access to the workbooks and additional resources listed. Once you’ve read through the materials we have posted on the website, you have been trained.

Our services are all free, so there is no cost to take the Support Group Training.

You can take the training at your own pace, so you could read all of our materials in one day or break it down depending on your availability. A week would be a good estimate of the time you’ll allow yourself to read and disseminate the material with the people who will help you lead the support groups in your congregation.

Our support groups are broken down by week, and they go on for the recommended time of 16 weeks.

Any person who is interested in launching support groups dedicated to mental health in their congregation.

This depends on the needs in your congregation; some start with one support group, while others have launched Families Transformed and Minds Transformed at the same time. This allows for caretakers to go to a support group while their loved one is in their own support group.

All are welcome, but keep in mind that the groups do not focus on any specific mental health difficulty, but instead address common mental-health related topics. *These are not professional clinical therapy groups.

  • Families Transformed: Any spouse who has a wife or husband experiencing mental illness; any parent (or grandparent) with a son or daughter with any type of mental illness; family members who are 18 years or older, who have a sibling or a parent (s) with mental illness.
  • Minds Transformed: Anyone diagnosed with a mental health difficulty or disorder by a licensed mental health professional; those who are having extreme psychological distress.
  • Hearts Transformed: Any individuals who have experienced trauma; Individuals who are victims of rape/sexual assault and combat veterans should be placed in separate groups where everyone is dealing with the same traumatic issue.

Meeting in a house creates a more comfortable feel, but groups can also be hosted at a church, organization or business space. There is no expectation to provide food or drinks at the meeting. Please communicate this to all group members. It is okay if someone wants to provide snacks and drinks, but it can become burdensome and expensive to always have that expectation. On the other hand, there are often some in the group who have a more hospitable nature and would like to do this.

An hour and a half is a reasonable length of time to which most people can easily commit. Depending on the group, some may desire shorter or longer meeting times. Regardless of the set time, some will stay afterwards for more prayer and/or fellowship. You and your group can decide the time frame that works the best for the majority of your group.

Each Transformed group session allows for sharing and relationship building. While the group works together through each topic, personal discovery is encouraged. Group members will each want to have their own workbooks to make notes and as a personal resource to review the various topics and tools. The group will follow a weekly curriculum; each group topic is standalone, allowing visitors to come at any point. The group is designed to meet weekly OR can be divided into two separate sessions with a break in the middle (fall break for the holiday season and continue in the spring).

  • Faith: Includes a scripture that looks at a Biblical story related to the topic. A general overview of the scripture is given. You read the scripture together, the short commentary, and then have a discovery discussion. *Group Facilitators should always bring their bible and encourage the group to do the same
  • Facts: Lists specific facts related to the topic to be used for discussion. Read the fact and then use the questions for group discussion. Many of the topics come with additional information and practical tools. Follow the instructions listed in each activity section.
  • Future: Gives practical suggestion and tips individuals can immediately apply in their daily lives.

Even if you have just 1 or 2 people coming, continue with the group. Helping one person is better than helping no one.

If your congregation is comfortable with that, yes. The workbooks are structured so that anyone can drop in at week 3 or week 15.

  • For more information, you can review the Transformed Groups’ Leaders Guide. This workbook has more in-depth detailed information covering different topics regarding your support group.
  • You can also contact us at gatewaytohope@mentalhealthgateway.org.

Mental Health Coach Training FAQs

If you need assistance with the Mental Health Coach training that is offered as part of a partnership with the American Association of Christian Counselors, please contact Light University directly at admissions@lightuniversity.com or call 1-899-526-8673. If you would like to contact Randy Meetre, Light University’s Director of Church Partnerships, please email Randy.Meetre@aacc.net.

  • Sign up and apply for the scholarship. 
  • Member from AACC will contact you and gather important information. You must send them this information in order to move on to the next step: 
    • Approximate # of individuals taking the course 
    • Name of the church or ministry with mailing address 
    • Name, phone number, and email address of the point person (You/Person taking the training) 
    • Pastor or Ministry Leader’s name and email address who supports the training 
    • Approximate number of members in your church or ministry
  • Once they have processed your information, they will send you a list of detailed instructions for you to access the material. 
    • This step will take around one business day. Be patient. 
    • The cost to enroll in this training is $54. This is a technology fee. 
      • Ask your Pastor or Ministry leader if they would be willing to sponsor you. 

  • What to expect once you are approved to start: 
    • 3 Main Courses
    • 15 Hours, 13 Hours and 13 Hours 
      • Highly recommended that you pace yourself as you go through the training. There is a lot of information given; you will need time to process it. 
    • Each section has an introductory video by Dr. Stanford explaining the importance of the lesson. 
    • Each lesson has a lesson guide that you should review before beginning the lesson.
      • Tip: Print this lesson guide and take notes as you watch the lesson video. 
      • Tip: Obtain a Mental Health Coach binder and place all of your lesson notes in there. You can always reference back when you have a question or are stuck. 
    • Lessons average from 40 minutes to 1 hour. 
    • Each lesson incorporates biblical messages and stories. 
    • After each lesson, you will be given a 10-question quiz to test your knowledge on the lesson. You will have 30 minutes to take the quiz. You need a 70% passing rate to move on to the following lesson. If you fail the quiz on the first try, it is recommended that you review the lesson and try again. 
    • Throughout the lessons, there are encouraging video messages. 
    • As you complete sections 1, 2 and 3, you will see the option to download a certificate for each course.  
    • There is an option to add your certificates to your LinkedIn profile.