There have been more than 100 mass shootings this year while untreated mental health issues are reaching epidemic proportions. In addition, opioids continue to wreak havoc on individuals and their families. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, under the guidance of international world spiritual leader and anointed visionary Presiding Prelate Bishop Staccato Powell, are facing these challenges head-on.
Bishop Powell is the presiding prelate over The Western Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which covers California, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Washington and Alaska.
“If we’re to see any systematic movement it has to come from the church. We must start the dialogue,” said Powell. “We don’t kick people out because they’re diabetic or have cancer, yet we shy away from people with mental health issues.”
Powell believes the biggest challenges in our world are homelessness, mental illness, and incarceration. These issues triangulate by allowing imprisonment to become the new mental health system.
“These are national issues [but] there is a critical need for them to be addressed at the local community level. We’re working on establishing mental health clinics at 50 sites throughout six states. In addition, we’re identifying a site in Sacramento where we’ll establish a campus to address these needs,” he added.
Powell will be in Oakland this Saturday to attend the organization’s 150th Gala reception and banquet, which is being held at Beebe Memorial Cathedral and will feature gospel artist Tamela Mann.
Proceeds from the Sesquicentennial Gala will be used to further advance mental health programs and those impacted by mental health.