Dr. Neil Nedley, an author and president of Weimar Center of Health and Education, challenged church leaders to prioritize mental health in their work as well as in their own lives.
Nedley, speaking at the four-day week of prayer last week at Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, emphasized the integration of spiritual well-being with that of physical, mental and emotional health.
He also underscored a holistic approach to health ministry as an integral component in spreading the gospel.
“The beauty of medical missionary work is that it not only offers healing now, but also for eternity," he said.
There is a global need to understand and address these issues, said Peter Landless, director of health ministries for the world church.
“Mental health issues are no respecter of persons, even Adventists,” Landless said when introducing Nedley on the first day.
Mental health has taken the international spotlight with the recent shooting deaths of schoolchildren and others in the United States by gunmen with mental illnesses. On March 25, in the middle of the week of prayer, a pilot who apparently suffered depression crashed a Germanwings jet into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
Throughout the week of prayer, Nedley covered topics such as managing emotions, avoiding thinking errors, depression, and living the psychological good life.
"You never get enough of what you do not need because what you do not need will never satisfy," Nedley said.
How can you separate what you need from what you want? Ask yourself: “How long can I go without this before I die?” Nedley said.
On another day he said that the key to self-control was “self-sacrifice, self-sacrificing love."
Nedley is a practicing physician in internal medicine with an emphasis in gastroenterology, mental health, lifestyle medicine, and the difficult-to-diagnose patient. His books include “Depression: The Way Out” (2001) and “The Lost Art of Thinking" (2010), and he created the acclaimed Nedley Depression Recovery Program. He recently moved from Oklahoma to California to serve as the president of Weimar.