November 14, 2020

Virtual Community Center Will Support Mental and Physical Health in Mexico

Laura Marrero and Inter-American Division News

Seventh-day Adventist-operated Montemorelos University in northern Mexico recently launched a virtual community center to promote wholeness and wellness. The new online AMICUM Life and Hope Center was designed to improve mental and physical health and personal finances by featuring digital content such as interviews with specialists, seminars, various support services, and blogs, coordinators said.

“The center has a mission to teach healthy habits for a well-balanced lifestyle, including the spiritual dimension,” Lorena Neria, general coordinator of AMICUM, said. It’s a type of wholistic approach that educates and supports a community, that integrates health and wellness and incorporates them into daily life, she explained.

“We follow Christ’s method of connecting with people, becoming their friends and sharing messages that bring hope to their lives,” Neria added. Online visitors can choose to enlist in online courses on healthy living from physical, mental, and spiritual aspects as well as find support groups led by health professionals, who will moderate forums for groups such as mourning mothers, young people with disabilities, body in motion, productivity without stress, and personal finances.

“These specific support group themes were chosen based on the needs of persons who live in large cities, regarding survival, protection, affection, understanding, participation, creation, idleness, identity, and freedom,” Mariela Espejo, coordinator of operations and content production of AMICUM, said.

The AMICUM virtual community center offers many resources and ways that online visitors can better deal with their daily lives, handling stress, mental distress, emotional stress, and more. [Image: AMICUM]

The center is being promoted through social networks, Espejo said. “Most of what we have noticed is the need for mental health. We will add more topics that can assist persons facing emotional crises, something the pandemic has aggravated.”

The center is still in the process of adjusting and going through a learning stage, Neria said. In addition to social media connections, leaders are counting on student literature evangelists who, in addition to selling books and literature, can point to the services of AMICUM as a free service to their clients, she explained. “We also want to enlist church members who are interested in sharing the platform with their friends and family members, so we are working on additional dissemination strategies for the virtual center.”

The center is considered a resource that can have the potential to impact thousands of people in Spanish-speaking urban populations.

Health and medical professionals specializing in neuropsychology, psychology, physiotherapy, accounting, and business administration, among others, are monitoring the forums daily on the website.

AMICUM, which means “friend” in Latin, came about after the Inter-American Division challenged Adventist universities throughout the territory to create community centers, with an initial sponsorship to start the center. The virtual center is self-sufficient, leaders said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.