Adventist Health raising depression awareness

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Cooranbong, New South Wales

Depression is one of the most common disorders in the world and the leading cause of disability. It has also been shown to be a major factor in approximately two-thirds of suicides. But while depression is common, researchers suggest it’s a subject that continues to be ignored.1 

You don’t have to continue to put up with depression or anxiety as if it’s something that’s just going to be a part of your life. These things can be reversed.

To increase awareness of the growing rate of depression, the South Pacific Division’s (SPD) Adventist Health Ministries department is assisting Nedley Health Solutions in providing mental health resources and training for church members across Australia and New Zealand.

The training will be based on Dr Neil Nedley’s highly-acclaimed Depression Recovery Program (DRP), which has helped thousands of people suffering with depression and anxiety achieve better mental health.

SPD Adventist Health director Pastor Kevin Price said this renewed focus on mental health is a “fitting step” for the Church, as “wholistic health has long been a part of our Adventist DNA”.

Three people are already certified to conduct facilitators training for the DRP in Australia and New Zealand. The program also featured as part of this year’s Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) Summit at Avondale College of Higher Education (NSW) in February, with more than 140 people taking part in the two-day facilitators training.

CHIP in Churches Program director (SPD) and Summit coordinator Dr Paul Rankin said the DRP “will give us another way to equip our churches to make a positive impact in the community” in a similar way to CHIP.

Dr Nedley, one of the international guest speakers at the summit, said he hopes the resources and training will help lift the “stigma” that continues to be associated with depression.

“People who have depression think they will be looked down upon by others, so they tend to not want to open up about it,” he said. “Anyone can experience depression but that doesn’t make you a bad person.”

The Adventist physician and president of the Weimar Institute (US) also said while there are more than 100 causes of major depression, there are “100 simple things people can do to help their mental health”.

“You don’t have to continue to put up with depression or anxiety as if it’s something that’s just going to be a part of your life,” Dr Nedley said. “These things can be reversed. Once you learn the principles and apply them amazing results can come about.” 

Pastor Price said churches looking to run the program can contact the Adventist Health Ministries department at <healthinfo@adventist.org.au>. However, he also stressed the importance of having church board approval and an Adventist health professional involved in the training sessions.

1. Heidi Ledford, “Medical research: If depression were cancer”. Nature, Vol 515, p 182-184.