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Commentary: Mental Health Day

Commentary: Mental Health Day

The month of October highlights two important dates that bring focus to mental health. First, we have the World Mental Health Day on October 10, and secondly the domestic violence awareness month in North America. We know that survivors of trauma and violence can often experience impaired mental and physical health. We also know that there is no health without mental health. Mental illness is the number one cause of financial burden in most of the world, and despite the many efforts to reduce stigma, there is still much discrimination and misconceptions about it.

The Mental Health Foundation reports that this is not only a problem among adults but across the lifespan. In fact, 10% of children and youth aged 5-16 years have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of them who experience mental health issues have not had appropriate interventions early on. That are many factors that influence mental health, but among the top 5 factors are: discrimination, participation in meaningful activities, relationships, physical health and poverty.

This year on World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization is focusing on the theme of “Dignity” for those with mental illness.  There is much we can do to accept, understand, respect and preserve the dignity of those with mental illness as mush as those with a diagnosis such as diabetes or heart disease.

As it turns out there are many ways that faith communities can be involved in raising awareness in an effort to reduce discrimination and stigma through education. The church can also assist children, youth and adults to engage in meaningful activities and healthy relationships. Lastly, we can also promote physical health and find creative ways to reduce poverty. But we can’t stop there. There are many other ways that the Seventh-day church can be involved in promoting mental and emotional wellness and assisting people who suffer from debilitating mental illness.  

In order to assist on this effort and to educate, raise awareness and explore tangible plans to make a difference in bringing this issue to the forefront of the Seventh-day Adventist church as a way to prevent and assist those in the church and community, three Divisions of the Seventh-day world church are planning a mental/emotional wellness summit on January 13-17, 2016 in Orlando, Florida (North America, Inter-America, South America).

Registration is open now and the early bird discount ends on November 30, 2015. To learn more go to: www.EmotionalWellnessSummit.com.  

There is no health without mental health. Let us better equip ourselves to extend God’s healing ministry where we are. After all, He desires for us to experience a full and abundant life in every way. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2