“Persons with disabilities as well as other persons in the community see the church as a pillar of support to their complete wellbeing, church leaders stated at a virtual dialogue, held 5 May, on promoting mental wellness of persons with disabilities during and beyond COVID-19. “There is need for the church to explore further ways to build communities of support within communities to promote mental wellness of persons with disabilities during COVID-19.”
The dialogue showed that the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health will continue being felt now and in future, and that the church can play a unique role in helping people cope with anxiety, despair, pain and fear. Participants agreed there is need for the church to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of their COVID-19 response on mental health.
Said commissioner Lawrence Mute, World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network: “The church can do this by promoting discussions on mental wellbeing in families and church life, avoiding stereotypes, offering mental health education, and being empathetic as well as establishing centres of wellbeing.”
“The church should be the voice of its members, including persons with disabilities, on mental health wellness,” added Rev. Dawn Gikandi of the National Council of Churches.
The dialogue was organised by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network as part of the work on enhancing churches’ capacity to promote mental health wellness of persons with disabilities during and post COVID-19.