Health and Wellness Month
Every year, the Albuquerque North Valley Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church designates the month of February as Health Awareness Month. This year, the North Valley’s Health Ministries Department decided to focus on an issue that is not frequently discussed in churches–mental health.
“There are so many people that deal with mental illnesses, such as depression, who slip through the cracks because we don’t talk about it, and there is still a stigma attached to it,” said Gloria Lira, Director of Health Ministries at North Valley. “It is also a topic that is not normally addressed in the Latino community. Most people are comfortable talking about other types of illnesses, like diabetes, but someone experiencing severe depression often won’t talk about it publicly for fear of being judged.”
The North Valley church held several activities related to the topic throughout the month. The kids were shown several animated videos during story time that revealed how keeping your body healthy helps keep your mind healthy. Fabian Juarez, a Clinical Chaplain in Albuquerque, was also invited to speak on depression and anxiety for Wednesday-night prayer meetings. The activities concluded with a special Health and Wellness Day on Saturday, February 24, 2018. The day featured a sermon from Albuquerque Heart Specialist, David Pinnock, M.D., who spoke on the correlation between nutrition and mental health and ended with a health fair that was open to the community. Medical providers were present to provide health screening checks, and Alhelí Baca, a licensed clinical counselor, gave a special presentation on mental health awareness.
“The world of mental health covers a broad spectrum and can be a tough issue to discuss,” said Lira. “But I think our health ministry team did a nice job in organizing different activities throughout the month to provide opportunities for our members to talk about mental illness and better support those who may be experiencing challenges.”
By Debbie Marquez