Pastoral Considerations for Mental Health and Wellness
Make sure the prayers in worship include mention of this virus and are coupled with the conviction that God does not abandon anyone but is present. Your own words in your church’s newsletter can bring comfort and solace which might reduce the heightened anxiety these days.
- A faith community which is already alert about the mental health challenges of some of their members can reach out to these individuals with assurance and presence. Imagine ways that you can overcome the growing isolation that is part of containing the spread of the virus. Perhaps you can name a couple of people in your congregation who can help those who are technology-challenged to use available technology so as to keep some connections happening or even be increased.
- Your church may have a mental health ministry which can reach out to local resource persons to provide adult education about anxiety and OCD along with other mental health challenges which might be triggered by the outbreak of the conoravirus. If there is no such ministry at this time, you may consider forming one in the future. That could include hosting a Mental Health First Aid educational program or use your local NAMI organization. You can also google such helpful websites as nami.org to find some concrete resources and guidance.
- The uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead will lead some of us if not most of us to spend a lot more alone ourselves. This might be an invitation for some time for introspective enriching. It might include finding those favorite daily posts for spiritual/religious readings or poems. Contemplative prayer time, or simple breathing practices, or slow walks outside or in nature can all be ways to restore the balance that we all need.