Mental Health on the Mission Field

Mental Health on the Mission Field
Bethany Berendsen
Jul 13, 2022

Did you know that July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month?

This started back in July 2008 by Bebe Moore Campbel. Minority communities tend to have fewer, or the same amount of mental health issues compared to the majority yet tend to be more untreated for their mental health needs. This can be due lack of access to good mental health care and a stigma that it is wrong to have mental health issues.

A few reasons why mental health can be a struggle to address for people in minority?

  • Many minority groups do not have access to health insurance or the money to pay for care privately.
  • There may be a large stigma about mental health in their family or culture.
  • The language barrier makes some care options more difficult while sharing and understanding health concerns.

I traveled on MMO's 2021 trip to Romania, and had some first-hand experience dealing with this. My last patient on our final day of clinics sat in his consultation sharing a little of his story. With tears in his eyes, he spoke of the loneliness and discouragment he was facing. He had just lost his family member and had no food or basic needs. I was able to talk with our host missionary, and we gathered some food for him to go home with that we had. A fellow team member gave him his coat to stay warm. I was able to bring him to a local church member where I explained the situation. Our goal was to leave that patient in a situation that met his physical needs, with people who could reach him in the place he was coming from, and ultimately would encourage him through God’s Word and show him what God has for Him. We found out after he left for the day that he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

The experience left me feeling that we could do so much more in our clinics to help our patients fight their mental battles. As a Staff Nurse at MMO, I will in part focusing on developing a biblical mental health program for patients like the one I helped to treat in Romania. My goal is to help minority groups around the world identify their mental health needs, and then also provide biblical knowledge along with mental health coping skills to work through these struggles.

I am thrilled and excited to be a part of this new program to help show these people that there is a Healer for Mental Health needs as well.