Also called “Faith Community Nursing”, this is a specialized practice of nursing which promotes understanding of whole person (mind, body, and spirit) health and wellness, and provides disease prevention services. There is an emphasis on spiritual care. These services are provided by a registered nurse with educational preparation in wholistic ministry, and who provides health promotion services within a faith community. The goal of the Faith Community Nurse is to assist individuals in gaining optimal mental, physical, and spiritual health by complementing the ministry provided by our pastor and other lay ministers.
THE INVISIBLE DISEASE
It’s May! Every year in May we observe Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. During the month, awareness is raised about mental illness, education is promoted about mental health disorders, and we work on reducing the stigma of mental illness.
Did you know that depression is also called the “invisible disease”? Many people with depression try to keep it a secret or hidden, not wanting anyone to know. So they will smile and laugh and pretend everything is okay. Do you know anyone like this? This is one reason depression is called the invisible disease.
Depression is not a wound that can be seen. There’s no body cast, there are no bandages and no visible wounds. If there were, everyone would be offering both physical and emotional support. A person with depression usually looks “okay.” For this reason, if family members or loved ones have never suffered from or experienced depression themselves, they many times, with this invisible disease, become frustrated and impatient with a loved one’s symptoms, not knowing what to do or how to help. Trying to be supportive, they may even make comments such as “just put it out of your mind,” or “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” or even “just get over it.” Anyone struggling with depression cannot do these things.
If you or a loved one have symptoms or warning signs of depression, it is important to talk to your family physician or another healthcare provider you trust. They will be able to direct you to treatment. If you are a support for someone diagnosed with depression, remember to take care of yourself in order to cope with the possible frustration and anxiety which you may surface. And remember that depression is a very treatable illness.