Many of us experience mental health challenges or know someone experiencing them. We recently received a note from a participant in one of the Mental Health First Aid Trainings:
“I’m emailing you because last night I found myself in a situation where a young woman was having a mental health crisis, screaming that the voices in her head were telling her she was evil and she needed to take her own life. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have known what to do if I hadn’t taken the Mental Health First Aid course a couple Saturdays ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the work that you do to increase awareness of the prevalence of mental health challenges and how you provide resources so we are better empowered and equipped to respond to them.”
You are not alone if you have had a similar experience with someone having a mental health crisis and did not know how to support them without first receiving training. Though we cannot control what we are presented with, we can stand on God’s word that He has a purpose and plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), become aware of signs and symptoms of mental health issues (Proverbs 4:7), and learn about mental wellness strategies and resources to support ourselves and others. Because our mental health and well-being exists on a continuum, a stressor, event, or condition can cause our emotional state to shift from well to ill at any given moment. So, it is important for us to be in tune with our feelings, emotions, and reactions to the cares of this world and to cast them on the Lord in prayer (1 Peter 5:7) while praying for God’s guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6) on the plans to care for our well-being. Learning how to care for our mental well-being is essential to our overall health and quality of life and improves our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health (Proverbs 3:7-8).
Life presents us with opportunities to feel, learn, grow, support, and be supported. Mental Health Awareness month, which occurs annually every May, offers us many opportunities to learn how to better improve the care of our mental well-being. Mental Health America (MHA, mhanational.org/mental-health-month) has been observing Mental Health Awareness month since its inception in 1949. This year’s theme is “Take some time to look around, look within.” MHA provides a wealth of mental health information and tools to help us understand and screen for symptoms of mental health conditions and prepare us to access mental health supports (https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/).
Bridgeway’s Mental Health and Faith Network (MHFN) is excited to be hosting mental health resource tables this month to increase our knowledge of how we can better care for our mental well-being. Join us after each service on Mother’s Day, May 14, at our Columbia campus’ Real Talk Corridor and on Sunday, May 21, at our Owings Mills campus’ Fireplace Lobby. Our on-line campus can have access to the mental wellness resources via our Mental Health and Faith Network – Bridgeway Community Church (churchcenter.com) group. We have resources for adults, children, youth, parents, educators, and more!
You may be wondering what the Mental Health and Faith Network (MHFN) is. The MHFN has a unique history and legacy. After an impactful mental health and spirituality panel for Bridgeway’s Women’s ministry in 2016, men asked to collaborate on a joint mental health event. Under our Care Ministry, a planning team was established in 2017 to host a successful 2018 mental health and faith conference. Many conference planning team members formed bonds and committed to adding a mental health element to the Care ministry. Bridgeway’s Mental Health and Faith Network was founded in 2019 to continue to serve our community with mental wellness education.
The MHFN’s vision is for Bridgeway “to be a safe and welcoming church community addressing the intersections of mental health and faith with truth, knowledge, and understanding.”
Our mission “is to help empower Christ’s followers to live the abundant life Christ came to give us through mental health resource outreach.”
Our goals are to provide support and mental health education to MHFN event participants, increase access to mental health resources in our community, and serve as Bridgeway’s mental health bridge-builders.
Our multicultural body of fully devoted Christ-followers from diverse professional backgrounds regularly share mental health training opportunities, resources, and support each other within our group. We meet virtually once a month to plan mental health outreach events, encourage each other, and pray with one another. We fulfill our mission by providing Hope e-prayers (email email@example.com) to the body of Christ and hosting mental health education opportunities such as Mental Health First Aid Trainings, Provider Appreciation Events, Mental Health Hours, mental health resource awareness outreaches, in-person and virtual conferences, and other innovative mental wellness activities. The MHFN provides opportunities for the body of Christ to connect and learn so that we can become Better Together.
We welcome you to join our Mental Health and Faith Network to receive updates about our events and meetings and access resources posted in the group. We also invite you to consider joining our network to volunteer, learn, and serve with us. Contact the MHFN at firstname.lastname@example.org for more MHFN information.
Other important observances this month:
May 7th – 13th: Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week
May 18th: National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day.
If you need help or support, please contact Care.
If you are looking for activities where you can meet others, check out our Events.
If you are looking for people to do life with, connect with our Groups.