Office of Christian Care and Counseling

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month!

Rev. Dr. LaTasha L. Morgan, LPC

Did you know that May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness Month? The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares that since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been highlighted to help shed light on mental illness. Alfred Street’s Office of Christian Care and Counseling (OC3) aims to continuously support this movement and message in our work as we empower, educate and eradicate stigma. Societally, we are getting better, but there is much more work to be done. And, that work must begin with each of us individually.

I just want to pause a moment here and reflect on an outstanding accomplishment. Recently, ASBC’s OC3 team had the opportunity to meet with leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services- Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partners to discuss their partnership program. It was a successful meeting to say the least! In it, we learned that ASBC’s counseling program stands with faith-based front runners doing similar work across the United States!! WE are counted among leaders with the structure and service our program offers.

We are grateful to God for the progress made in such a short time. But are not done yet- we still have BIG dreams ahead of us. We dream of having an ASBC center that continues to support members within the walls of ASBC but also hope to reach beyond the walls into our community in providing wrap around services, expanded mental health and wellness programs, internship offerings, community resourcing and training faith-based leaders. I want to extend thanks and gratitude to our pastor- The Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley and the leaders and members of Alfred Street for having the faith to see this to manifestation. Please, keep praying for this team (Jorge, La Tonya, Michele and Tiffany & Dr. Morgan) as we aim higher to integrate faith and mental health.

With this in mind, I bring back a message that we cannot hear about enough- SELF-CARE. We as a team understand the challenge to balance life and self-care. So what we offer to ourselves, I also offer the same reminder and prompt to you. We all respond differently to the stressors and difficult life events we regularly face. Therefore, it is imperative to periodically assess your life, your needs and your care toolbox so you can add and remove supportive elements as necessary. Many of you have a routine to set your calendar to change your air filters- might I suggest you set time every May to check your mental health toolkit? As a matter of fact why not go ahead right now, take out your cellphone and create a reminder for May…I’ll wait.J Don’t have one? No worries, NOW is a great time to get started on yours.

You are probably wondering how to get started? The Office of Christian Care and Counseling has got you covered. We have an online reference created during Selah. Use the information found here to guide you: https://www.alfredstreet.org/selah/. Remember, it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Make it personal. Most importantly, remember that self-care is not selfish- it is SELF-FULL! Taking good care of our minds, bodies, souls and spirit is key to living our abundant God-given lives. So together, let us move from awareness to action and begin to embrace improved mental care.

This may look like doing what naturally makes you feel good, helps you have a positive attitude and outlook, empowers your faith and uplifts you during challenging times. Whatever it looks like for you- allow it with the help of God to help you be your best healthy self.

10 Tips to consider:

Scripture Reference (for encouragement)

Philippians 4:6-8 (Message)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Don’t forget!

Set your reminder and join us on May 29, 2024 at 7p for Mental Health and the Sacred Sanctuary where we will have a special episode focused on this very topic! See you there.

Let’s Talk About Us

Black Females

1 in 4 Black girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18 (Barlow, 2020).

1 in 5 Black women are survivors of rape (Barlow, 2020).

For every Black woman who reports rape, at least 15 Black women do not report it (Barlow, 2020).

35% of Black women experienced some form of SA contact during their lifetime (Barlow, 2020).

40% – 60% of Black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18 (Barlow, 2020).

17% of black women experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Barlow, 2020).

Compare to White women, Black women are less likely to involve the police in cases of child sexual abuse (Barlow, 2020)

Black Males

58.7% of Black males reported sexual contact before the age of 12 with someone 5 or more years older (Levine et. Al., 2017).

30% of black males from that same study reported unwanted sex between ages 12-16 (Levine et. Al., 2017).

22% of black males have been pressure or forced into sex by an intimate partner (Levine et. Al., 2017).

Black males and other marginalized groups are more likely to report experiencing sexual harassment than other men (Levine et. Al., 2017).

Due to religious, cultural, and societal pressures and norms, men are less likely to report sexual assault crimes and therefore, the statistics and information on this population is extremely low. Further research required.

Prevention

Something has to be done…what can you do?

Promote social norms that protect against violence

  • Bystander approaches
  • Mobilizing men and boys as allies

Teach skills to prevent sexual violence

  • Social-emotional learning
  • Teaching health, safe dating and intimate relationship skills to teens
  • Promoting healthy sexuality and sexual practices
  • Empowerment-based training

Provide Opportunities to Empower and Support Girls and Women

  • Strengthen economic support for women and families
  • Strengthen leadership and opportunities for girls

Create Protective Environments

  • Improve safety and monitoring in schools
  • Establishing and consistently applying workplace policies
  • Addressing community-level risks through environmental approaches

Support Victims/ Survivors

  • Victim centered services
  • Treatment for victims of SV
  • Treatment for at-risks children and families to prevent problem behavior including sex offender

Scripture References

Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:28-29 – In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.

Galatians 5:14 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

Psalm 11:5 – The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Drop us a line at pastoralcounseling@alfredstreet.org and tell us how you are doing!

For further information, assistance, or for counseling referrals email:

NOTE: due to an overwhelming response, counseling requests are being wait-listed and answered in order received.  Contacting your insurance provider, employer provided employee assistance program team or EAP team or larger platforms like Better Help or Thrive works may be a better option for an immediate request.