11 Feb

Bridging Faith and Psychiatry

bipolardisordercoverA connection to faith has long been recognized as having a deeply profound impact on emotional well-being. Throughout history, a connection to a higher power has been the cornerstone of the resilience and empowerment.

Many studies reveal that when faith is included in wellness planning, individuals experience shorter recovery times, fewer hospitalizations and fewer relapses. A 2009 survey of individuals with mental health conditions and family members conducted by the California Mental Health and Spirituality Initiative revealed that 88% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that faith is an essential component to their or their family member’s wellness.

A family elder is a first choice for many individuals in times of personal distress. During a given year, imams and family elders see more people than psychologists and psychiatrists combined.  As first responders, they play a compelling role in helping those in need.

Stigma is a significant barrier to accessing the needed support and care for individuals facing mental health concerns. Having a conversation with trusted elder who are aware of family concerns can improve mental wellness for individuals and families.

The assurance that mental health awareness is uplifted in the community often begins with elders. For this reason, partnering with families is a cornerstone of the approach we take at the Brunnen.

  1. Realize that mental health conditions are medical conditions that are very common.It is very likely that several families in your family are impacted by mental health in some way or another, which makes mental health a significant concern for the entire
  2. Mental health conditions are like all other medical conditions and should be treated as such. The individuals and families seeking your guidance deserve to have their needs addressed appropriatelyby a trained professional.
  3. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to offer their gifts, talents and strengths to the community. Individuals living with mental health concerns are valuable community members. Remind them of they are part of an incredible community and greatness lies in them!

Family elders should not replace trained mental health services providers, but work to support them. Elders should seek opportunities to collaborate and work together to help members of the community and their families.