Adventist Health Ministries Unveils Mental Health Initiative

“Reminded” is set to increase mental health awareness in churches and communities.

Andrea Lavy, ANN, and Adventist Review
Adventist Health Ministries Unveils Mental Health Initiative
Torben Bergland, associate director of Adventist Health Ministries, presents the Reminded initiative during the 2023 Annual Council in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, on October 10. [Photo: Lucas Cardino / AME (CC BY 4.0)]

In a move to address the global mental health crisis, Adventist Health Ministries (AHM) of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists launched “Reminded,” a new mental health initiative, on October 10, World Mental Health Day.

The initiative encapsulates the wholistic health approach championed by the Adventist Church, leaders said. AHM unveiled Reminded “to offer a comprehensive mental health program to minister effectively to the mental needs of people of all ages within and outside the church,” the initiative website explains.

Based on Christ’s Method of Reaching People

AHM director Peter Landless shared with the General Conference Executive Committee members during a report at Annual Council the importance of releasing it on that day. “It could not be more appropriate [to have] the privilege of sharing with you … the importance of this wonderful Adventist health message with which we’ve been entrusted, which is a wholistic health message — body, mind, spirit, social, and emotional,” Landless said.

Torben Bergland, associate director of AHM, elaborated. “Reminded has been designed for mission … to bring comfort, hope, and healing to the world,” he said. “In this way, we’re really basing it on the model of Christ’s method, the strategy and process of bringing people to Christ.” The purpose of Reminded, according to Bergland, is to extend genuine sympathy, minister to the needs of those suffering, and eventually lead them to Jesus, the ultimate source of hope and comfort.

Addressing the Global Mental Health Crisis

Reminded’s inception aligns with the global imperative to address mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the gravity of the issue in 2012, stating, “There is no health without mental health.” Depression, in particular, has emerged as a global menace, with staggering statistics revealing the widespread impact of mental disorders, health leaders explained.

The WHO’s recommendations, which include partnering with faith-based organizations, mirror the mission of Reminded, they added. “By leveraging the vast network and resources of the church, Reminded aims to bridge the gap in mental health services and promote understanding and awareness.”

Global Health Outreach

One of the focuses for Reminded will be an emphasis on global reach. “What we are presenting to you today is just the beginning of this resource,” Bergland said. “Our goal is to have Reminded available in multiple languages within the next year.” Currently, the short films on Reminded are available in Spanish and Portuguese on the Feliz7Play platform. 

Bergland also highlighted the goal to have Reminded videos on YouTube, and create social media pages, a podcast, documentary series, on-demand facilitator training, and more articles and videos. All of these will provide crucial insights into mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma, he said. 

During the presentation, Bergland shared the testimony of one Reminded viewer. He shared, “What a video. What lessons. I have suffered with this problem for many years. May God bless you. […] I asked God for help, and He sent me this video. I’m feeling very good. Thanks.”

This response underscores Reminded’s potential as a first point of contact for many within the church, Bergland said. “That is our goal, that it will be a good point of contact that will trigger a desire for more,” he said.

The original version of this story was posted by ANN.

Andrea Lavy, ANN, and Adventist Review