Keeping the Faith: Surviving the Perils of Mental Health and Religion

Sat, May 18, 2024
Room 203
Greensboro Cultural Center

Healing happens in mysterious ways, often through faith, finding belonging, and navigating the perils of one’s upbringing to fully realize—and take care—oneself. Join two North Carolina memoirists, ANNA GAZMARIAN (Devout: A Memoir of Doubt) and J. DANA TRENT (Between Two Trailers) as they discuss their sometimes-bumpy paths toward healing. For Gazmarian, the stigma of mental health struggles in the evangelical community led her on a decade-long journey toward acceptance and well-being. Trent’s story begins with drug-dealer parents who both struggle with mental illnesses and follows her into adulthood, where she realizes that home is where the healing begins.


ANNA GAZMARIAN holds an MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her essays have been published in The Rumpus, Longreads, The Sun, and The Guardian. Anna works for The Sun Magazine and lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina. LEARN MORE

J. DANA TRENT is a speaker, professor, award-winning spirituality author, and minister. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, she teaches world religions and critical thinking at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina. LEARN MORE


DR. ANNA HOLLEMAN is a sociologist who studies the intersection of religion and mental health. Her research focuses on how clergy and congregations are impacted by mental illness and respond to others’ mental health needs. Dr. Holleman is currently a researcher at Duke University, but starting in August, she will be a professor at Appalachian State University. Before receiving her PhD, she received a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, and thus she approaches her research with an appreciation for the complexities of religious and congregational life.