16 July 2021 | The Seventh-day Adventist denomination’s Women’s Ministries Department has created a brochure designed to tackle mental health challenges and help remove the stigma that surrounds them.

The “Thinking Well, Living Well” brochure states that “women face many threats to health, such as social inequalities, economic deprivation, poor nutrition, inadequate housing, disability-related discrimination, gender discrimination and political instability. Being born female in some cultures exposes women to a devalued social status, and reduced access to basic necessities such as food, health care and education.”

According to Adventist News Network (ANN), the Women’s Ministries Department identified mental illness as a major threat to women’s and children’s health.

“Every day, the news features fresh commentaries on children reaching a breaking point, medical professionals contemplating suicide, or others not receiving the help they need to combat the feelings of hopelessness and despair that threaten to overwhelm them,” said ANN in its report on the brochure.

ANN said that in 2014 Women’s Ministries leaders addressed mental health issues in a series of 10 seminars, presented at the Global Health Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.

These presentations aimed to “educate, encourage open and compassionate dialogue about mental health issues, and hopefully remove some of the stigma surrounding the topic,” stated ANN.

Congress organizers said, “Many members in the Seventh-day Adventist Church suffer silently, live in pain and shame, and sometimes leave the church because they feel God has forsaken them. The time has come for the Church to become educated and to recognize when members need help.”

The ANN report featured advice from Heather-Dawn Small, Women’s Ministries director, and Raquel Arrais, Women’s Ministries associate director:

“Research the health needs of women in your church and local community. Work with your Health Ministries department to address these needs through relevant programs and health seminars. Use the expertise of health professionals in your church. Schedule health training updates for volunteers and church members to enable them to participate in health programs and to minister effectively to the sick. Use local health agencies where appropriate to assist you in running health programs in your church and community.”

For more information, visit women.adventist.org.

A direct link to the mental health resource can be found here.

All of the PowerPoint presentations and informational brochures are free and available to download.

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