Embracing Mental Health Awareness: A Guide for Adventist Faith Community Nurses

The Month of May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness month since its inception in 1949. Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) within the Seventh-day Adventist Church are in a unique position to recognize and assist individuals who may be experiencing mental health challenges. We recognize the importance of caring from a wholistic perspective.

Individuals and communities can benefit from our knowledge of addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of health. As we consider our profession, it is incumbent upon us to strategically position ourselves to be of service to this unique segment of our population, within and without our churches.

For Adventist FCNs, integrating mental awareness into our practice should not only be seen as a professional responsibility but also a spiritual calling. Jesus said in Matt 25:40 “truly I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these you have not done it to me”. When we see people as wholistic beings, we should therefore treat them as such. Many individuals with mental health challenges are usually under-diagnosed, undiagnosed, or ignored in society. It is not until we hear of mass shootings, or other tragedies that awareness is promoted. FCNs should not and cannot wait for tragedies to occur. We must be ready to meet the challenges at hand.

There are practical strategies that we should employ to identify individuals who perhaps may be experiencing some aspects of mental challenges.

As Adventist FCNs, we act as conduits to refer individuals to the appropriate professionals who can further assist them in their respective conditions. We realize the importance of mental health in wholistic care. The Adventist health message emphasizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle, incorporating physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Mental health, often overshadowed by physical health, is essential for maintaining a balanced life. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress can significantly impact physical health and spiritual vitality.

Understanding and addressing mental health issues are crucial in promoting wholistic well-being among individuals and communities served by Adventist FCNs. We promote a safer environment when individuals receive the needed attention they deserve.

Strategies for Raising Mental Awareness

  1. Education and Training
    1. Continuous Learning. Nurses should engage in ongoing education about mental health issues, symptoms, and treatments. Understanding the latest research and developments in mental health can empower nurses to provide accurate information and support.
    2. Workshops and Seminars. Attend and organize workshops and seminars on mental health topics. These events can be opportunities to learn from experts and share knowledge with colleagues and patients.
  2. Creating a Safe Space
    1. Open Communication. Encourage open and honest conversations about mental health. Create a non-judgmental environment where patients feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns.
      1. Confidentiality. Assure patients that their discussions about mental health are confidential. This assurance can help build trust and encourage patients to share their experiences.
  3. Wholistic Assessment and Care Plans
    1. Comprehensive Assessments. Incorporate mental health screenings into regular health assessments. This can help identify early signs of mental health issues and allow for timely intervention.
    2. Individualized Care Plans. Develop care plans that address both physical and mental health needs. Consider the patient’s emotional and psychological state when planning treatments and interventions and consult with their health care provider(s) as needed.
  4. Utilizing Faith-Based Resources
    1. Spiritual Counseling. Integrate spiritual counseling into mental health care. Many patients find comfort and strength in their faith, and addressing spiritual concerns can enhance mental health care.
    2. Faith-Based Support Groups. Establish or recommend support groups within the faith community. These groups can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, which are vital for mental health.
  5. Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices
    1. Physical Activity. Encourage regular physical activity, which is proven to have positive effects on mental health. Activities like walking, gardening, and stretching exercises can reduce stress and improve mood.
    2. Balanced Diet. Advocate for a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support brain health. Educate patients about the connection between nutrition and mental well-being.
    3. Rest and Relaxation. Emphasize the importance of adequate rest and relaxation. Techniques such as prayer, meditation, and deep breathing can help manage stress and improve mental clarity.
  6. Access to Professional Help
    1. Referral Networks. Build a network of mental health professionals, including therapists and counselors, to whom patients can be referred for specialized care.
    2. Emergency Resources. Ensure patients have access to emergency mental health resources, such as crisis hotlines and local mental health services.


For Adventist Faith Community Nurses, promoting mental awareness is a profound way to embody the church’s commitment to wholistic health. By educating themselves and their members, creating safe spaces for open dialogue, and integrating mental health care into their practice, nurses can significantly enhance the well-being of their communities. Honor the wholistic nature of human beings, while nurturing the mind, body, and spirit.

Call to Action

As Adventist Faith Community Nurses, let us commit to becoming advocates for mental health. Let us strive to educate, support, and care for our patients in a way that honors God, the children of God and their entire being. Through our dedication and compassion, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve, promoting a healthier, more balanced community.

By Rosalyn Saunders, DrNP, FNP, RN AAFCN

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