For those members who are looking for help in these troubling times, SMOHIT offers SMART MAP Peer Counseling and Helpline access, as well as links to other services such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a reminder that you are not alone.
If you are looking for something that speaks more to your spiritual life, there are resources out there as well. Because there are so many denominations of faith communities throughout the US and Canada, it is not possible to list them all. But let’s look at some options that may meet your needs:
- The Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has published a newsletter called “Considering Faith, Community, and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis.” It offers general information about the pandemic but then lists religion-specific support information.
- Other general meditation sites and tools have sections dedicated to specific religions. One that has a huge worldwide following is “Insight Timer,” which is an app for cellphones. Just enter your keyword for the religious denomination of your choice, and up will pop a list of meditations and prayers.
- Another general spirituality resource is an online zine, “Beliefnet”. It is a broad site covering numerous topics on different faiths, written for believers at any level, from those who are seeking to the devout. It even has a resource for those who are without a faith community and aren’t sure which denomination they want to join. It asks a series of questions about beliefs and values and then produces a list of denominations that might be a good fit.
Most faith communities have built-in counseling and outreach programs, so the first recommendation would be to reach out to those committees or leaders of your congregation. Many ordained clerics, be they ministers, priests, imams or rabbis, already have been trained in providing not only spiritual but psychological counsel. They are part of what we therapists refer to as natural, local grassroots helping networks. After all, churches have been the center of peoples’ lives for millennia — since before there were governments, unions or nonprofits providing outreach and assistance. Ministering to souls means ministering to the whole person in many cases.
Whatever your need, please remember that help is available. During the pandemic, some resources have dried up, but others are rising to take their place. It has taken a tad longer to find available therapists in some areas, but the Helpline and MAP peers can fill the gap when that happens. We provide a safety net for those of you in need.