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Faith’s Role in Behavior Health Care

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

“What do you do to stay calm during these difficult times?” I asked. “I pray to God,” she answered.

Normally, I tend to not bring faith when I’m talking to my members. But, lately, I’ve been noticing that people want to talk about God and religion and how their beliefs are a crucial source of comfort in these unprecedented times. There is fear and uncertainty in almost everyone these days. However, throughout the workday, the people that I talk to are either mentally challenged, have one or more behavioral health issues, and/or have substance abuse disorders.  Imagine how these people must be feeling?

We can all learn a thing or two from each other – this is especially true, when it comes to faith. If one’s beliefs bring them comfort and peace during hard times, then we should accept it rather than judge them for it. Times like these are even harder for our mentally challenged population, and I strongly recommend calling your family members/friends who struggle with depression and anxiety and checking up on them. I can guarantee you that you will not only feel better afterwards but will also learn how to cope with isolation-because unfortunately for them, words like self-quarantine, distancing and lockdown are not new.

One of the challenges for those of us who work as care managers is how to bring comfort to my members over the phone. What should I be saying and asking when I’m trying to find out how their behavioral health is? There is no one answer. For instance, if someone reports that painting and making music in isolation is keeping them sane, then we follow that route and appreciate the fact that they are doing everything that they can to keep themselves from panicking. Most of the members do not have any family support, which is why for them to be able to talk to someone is a huge aspect of care coordination. It is important for them to know that we are all in this together. They might not be able to meet their care manager in person, but they should always know that we’re here to support them.

During this time, I have also realized that there is no need for people to shy away from talking about how their faith or religion helps them during uncertain times. One of my members mentioned how she is not happy about the fact that she cannot go to church anymore, because for her, praying to the Lord everyday kept her from buying drugs off the street. However, she now reads Bible in the morning and tries to keep herself as busy as she can throughout the day. Another member stated, “God is waiting on people to praise on Him, and we will get out of this soon.” While I was reviewing Covid-19 prevention measures with one of my members, he said that he is already accustomed to washing his hands while doing wudu, which led to him telling me about how he converted to Islam almost twenty years ago.  From my personal experience, I know that more than ever, many Muslim parents have started to emphasize upon the power of prayer on their children. According to them, we all ought to ask for forgiveness from God and be kinder and better humans because of trials and tribulations like these.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.