SFTJ Workshop - 2015-10-10

The kick-off of a new HIV research project will take place at Holman United Methodist Church on October 10, 2015 from 3pm until 5pm.  Rev. Kelvin Sauls will facilitate the inaugural workshop, entitled “Overcoming Shame and Stigma.”  This will be the first of six workshops.  The objective of the series is to help HIV-positive develop skills to cope with depression, stress and anxiety.  The series is sponsored by Strength for the Journey and the Cal-Pac Conference’s Living Into The Future Foundation.

The depression workshops series is the latest phase of a research study that began two years ago at the Strength for the Journey retreat for HIV-positive adults.  Surveys of campers have suggested that camper depression levels on the first day of the retreat significantly exceed levels experienced by the general public, but that those levels drastically decrease by the end of the five-day retreat.  An expanded study last year indicated that campers’ depression level remained suppressed for up to 60 days following the retreat.  This finding led Strength for the Journey staff members to speculate that depression-reduction workshops attended by campers during the retreat might be at least partially responsible for the change.  Staff further speculated that depression reductions might be sustained beyond 60 days if campers had the opportunity to attend post-retreat workshops.  To test this theory, the staff was awarded a grant from the Living Into The Future Foundation.

“We’re excited about this project and are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Holman in launching the study”, said SFTJ Co-Dean Charles McWells.  “Because this is a research study on depression and HIV, attendance at the workshop series is limited to campers who attended the SFTJ retreat.  But we’re hopeful that, if our theory is confirmed, we may be able to replicate our findings with other populations that are living with chronic health conditions”, said McWells.

For more information, contact Charles McWells at (323) 973-9143 or at charlesmcwells@yahoo.com.