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BCA Announces New Task Force to Tackle Mental Health Issues

The BCA has unveiled a new task force to address how Buddhism can help people deal with the myriad of mental health challenges in everyday life.

The task force, which is called “Buddhism and Spiritual and Psychological Well-Being,” was created by BCA President Terri Omori and Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada, and announced by Rev. Harada at the National Board meeting on June 3.

“We’re very excited about what this task force can do,” Rev. Harada said. “I think it always helps to keep Shin Buddhism connected to everyday life issues and problems. I think Shin Buddhism has a tendency to sometimes get up there in the clouds and get kind of academic. This way, it will always be grounded in the issues that everyone faces.”

Chairing the task force is Gregg Krech, the well-known Naikan therapist from the Todo Institute in Vermont.

Other members of the task force are: DeeDee Just, a marriage and family therapist, from the Vista Buddhist Temple member; Nancy Clifton-Hawkins, a public health official and certified health educator, from the Orange County Buddhist Church; Sydney Shiroyama, an occupational therapist, from the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple; Lewis Shaw from the Longmont Buddhist Temple; and Rev. Morris Sullivan, a Soto Zen monk and member of the Bright Dawn Dharma Center who resides in Florida.

“We have a number of people on the committee who come from mental health backgrounds and professionals, and the task force will, for the next year, come up with a plan on how the BCA can create programs and projects at the local district and national level to address spiritual and psychological well-being.”

Rev. Harada said the task force is for everyone in the BCA.

“This will be for our Sangha members, for people in the community who may be interested, or ministers who feel stressed or overworked or feel a sense of isolation,” he said.


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