November 23, 2023

Adventist Mental Health Association Hosts Fourth Summit in Manila

An initiative of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, it seeks to help thousands in need.

Prakash Jacob, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Under the Health Ministries Department of the Southern Asia Pacific Division, the Adventist Mental Health Association recently concluded its fourth mental health summit in Manila, Philippines. [Photo: Southern Asia-Pacific Division News]

Under the Health Ministries Department of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, the Adventist Mental Health Association recently concluded its fourth mental health summit at Manila Adventist College in the Philippines. Themed, “Battling with Anxiety: God Is Our Armor,” this significant event drew attendees from across the Philippines, including students, mental health professionals, and various church members, organizers said.

Mental illness is becoming more common as a disabling condition, according to a recent report from the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH). According to the DOH, no fewer than 3.6 million Filipinos are grappling with mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.

In response to the escalating concern impacting families and individuals across the Philippines, the Adventist Mental Health Association is actively addressing this issue. The association has been organizing awareness events designed to empower church members and pastors with the necessary tools to effectively address the challenges posed by the growing mental health dilemma.

The recent summit in Manila emerged as a critical platform for addressing mental health issues within the Adventist community, organizers said. Participants expressed profound appreciation for the initiative, highlighting the event as one of the most anticipated and necessary forums for dialogue and learning. “I am happy that the church is at last addressing issues that are most needed,” shared one attendee, seemingly reflecting the sentiment of many.

The gathering was not just a place for learning but also for voicing crucial feedback. A prevalent suggestion was the need for pastors and chaplains to participate in these summits, with some attendees advocating for their compulsory attendance. This reflects a growing awareness of spiritual leaders’ role in mental health care.

Amid discussions and workshops, there was an unmistakable air of excitement among participants, organizers said. The event sparked conversations about implementing similar programs in local churches, underscoring the widespread impact of the summit’s themes and discussions.

Furthering this momentum, the association announced the fifth mental health summit, titled, “Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ through Christian Medical Care,” scheduled to take place in Bacolod. The announcement was met with enthusiasm, as attendees looked forward to continuing these crucial conversations and learning experiences.

One striking aspect of the summit was the evident influence of spirituality in mental health discussions. Attendees and organizers said they noted the Holy Spirit’s presence, guiding health workers and participants alike in addressing mental health challenges through faith and community support.

“As the Adventist Mental Health Association continues to lead these significant initiatives, it becomes increasingly clear that such summits are not just meetings but pivotal moments in the journey toward wholistic health and wellness,” organizers said. “They blend faith and mental health expertise to benefit many.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.