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Mental Health Awareness

1 in 5 American adults experience mental illness – including Christians. Whether it’s you or someone you love, odds are that your life has been touched by mental illness in some way. Struggles with mental health are a normal part of life in this broken world. How can we pursue wholeness for ourselves and our loved ones when it comes to mental well-being? Below,  find answers to critical questions as well as quality resources recommended by New Covenant staff and ministry leaders.

Mental Health FAQ

What is mental illness? 

Mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood and can affect functionality in their work, school, social interactions, family and day-to-day activities. 

Who can become mentally ill? 

Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of age, race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status. We are living in a broken world, and we all experience brokenness in our lives, including physical sickness and mental illness.

Do Christians have mental illness? 

1 in 5 American adults, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status experience a mental illness in a given year. So, yes, Christians can struggle with mental illness just like anyone else. 

How do I prevent mental illnesses? 

Know your family history. Make a decision to be screened by a mental health professional biannually or annually, or as difficult situations arise in your life. Although it can be scary to admit that you’re struggling, starting early can give you tools to pursue wellness.

How can mental health be improved?

Everyone is different. Some people may choose to work with a mental health professional such as a counselor, therapist, doctor or psychiatrist. Others might improve their mental health through mindfulness practices, gratitude, forgiveness, generosity and maintaining healthy relationships. Spiritual disciplines like reading scripture and prayer can also be part of a mentally healthy lifestyle. Attending therapy, taking medications, and changing daily habits can all contribute to improving mental health. Give yourself grace as you walk through the process and be sure to surround yourself with people you trust who can walk alongside you toward healing and wholeness. 

What is the difference between mental health and emotional health?

Mental health is a person’s overall mental well-being, which includes the ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Emotional health is the ability to effectively manage positive and negative feelings and mood. 

When should I get help from a mental health professional?

When your activities for daily life are affected. Some signs to look for include: withdrawing from normal activities, changes in personality/mood, lack of appetite or sleep, excessive anxiety, inability to cope with regular problems that occur throughout the day. 

Can mental health affect physical health?

Yes, mental health can affect many aspects of physical health, like problems with appetite and sleep patterns as well as headaches, fatigue and digestive issues. Left unaddressed, this can lead to a variety of serious physical conditions or illnesses.

What is the crossroad between spiritual resources and medical treatments for mental health struggles?

Taking medicine for mental health can be daunting, but just like we would take medicine for headaches, hypertension, or diabetes, sometimes medicinal intervention is necessary for mental well-being. If you would seek professional guidance to make informed decisions for physical health, the same logic applies for mental health. It does not show a lack of faith in God to take medicine for physical or mental wellness.  

What is an anxiety attack? What is the best thing to do during an episode?

An anxiety attack, or panic attack, is an overwhelming feeling of dread that hijacks the sympathetic nervous system. You may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, intense fear or anxiety, or pounding heart palpitations. If you are having an episode, focus on your breathing to help calm you down. You can also try counting backwards from 100 slowly. You may need to contact a medical professional for next steps. 

What are some holistic approaches to coping with depression, anxiety or panic disorders?

There are several treatment modalities for depression, anxiety and panic disorders. Exercise, prayer/meditation, nature, doing an activity that brings you joy, practicing breathing techniques can all be healthy tools for coping with these struggles. It is best to consult with a professional to discuss different approaches and evaluate what is best for you. 

What is suicidal ideation?

It is having the idea of ending one’s life or having a desire to die. 

If a friend or loved one shows signs of suicidal ideation, what can I do to help?

You can express concern about what you are observing. Listen to them without judgment and offer to accompany them to speak with a professional. Together, you can call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Hotline which is free and available 24/7.

If a friend or loved one admits to me that they want to die, does that mean they are suicidal?

Not necessarily, but you should take them very seriously. You could be the first person they feel empowered to share their struggle with. Thank them for sharing with you, listen well, and show empathy for their situation. If possible, try not to leave them alone, whether in person or over the phone. Offer to reach out to a crisis line together, like 988.

Can I take a mental health day as a sick day from work?

Always check with your employer. Some employers have mental health days built into the job benefits. Also, speak with your supervisor or Human Resources representative to see if your job has any employee assistance programs available. Remember if you’re not feeling your best, you will not be able to function optimally at work.

Mental Health Resources

Dr. Heather Clark

Psychologist

754-800-2345

Ashley Kirkman

Renewal Counseling

954-380-8770

Beverley Powell

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

954-676-6874

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988

Mallory Gabriel

Remote Only

407-706-8054

Jade Major-Bryan

Counselor, LMHC, MA | EMDR Therapy 

Remote Options Available

954.780.6382

Sheridan House Ministries

954-583-1552

Spanish River Counseling

561-241-9014

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