Mental health issues have been in the news following the killing of 17 Afghan civilians by an American soldier. Below is a letter to the Adventist News Network John Gavin, chair of the Social Work Program at Washington Adventist University and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Metropolitan Ministry congratulating the Adventist Church for tackling the issue of mental health.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church last year demonstrated an important milestone regarding a religious organization’s approach to mental health – it takes it seriously.
The denomination held an international conference on Emotional Health & Wellness, which was significant for several reasons:
It pulled together several church departments to work together on an issue.
The event was a joint effort of Loma Linda University, Adventist Education, Health Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Chaplaincy Ministries, Family Ministries, and others.
For a long time these organizations have struggled alone with the challenges of helping people who suffer from mental health problems. By joining together their impact is multiplied.
The conference also demonstrated that the Adventist Church is willing to address real issues regarding mental health. As Dr. Carlos Fayard pointed out in his ANN Commentary (July 6, 2011) about last year’s conference, there are many within the church who deny or minimize mental health issues or who apply simplistic solutions, relegating them to simple matters of spirituality.
Adventist psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians know first-hand the living nightmare that characterizes the existence of those experiencing depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, grief, addiction and other problems. They are the ones who bring hope and healing to those experiencing emotional distress.
To read more, click on the Adventist News Network website.