Published on April 29, 2022

Kathleen Coleman

Faith Community Nursing Offers Hope & Healing

“We deal not just with the physical, but the mental, spiritual and emotional,” explained Kathleen Coleman, program manager of Adventist HealthCare’s Faith Community Health program. She leads a 40-hour course to train and support faith community nursing, a specialty recognized by the American Nurses Association. It focuses on ensuring that individuals who might not advocate for themselves get the care they need.

The program is one aspect of Adventist HealthCare’s commitment to serve health needs in our community. For the past 25 years, Adventist HealthCare has partnered with leaders in churches, colleges and other organizations to assess the critical health priorities of their members. Adventist HealthCare also provides tools, services and best practices to help those who otherwise might not seek care, even when facing chronic disease such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. Kathleen also hosts the Healing Connections Forum to provide regular educational and discussion opportunities to nurture an ongoing faith network.

When COVID-19 hit, Kathleen knew she needed to help her network of 70 organizations find credible health information, organize donations of food and diapers, and leverage county, state and federal resources to address insecurities that impact wellbeing.

"It's all part of our commitment to ensure whole-person health," Kathleen said.

As the pandemic continued, she soon saw rising levels of stress, anxiety and depression in the people she serves. She now partners with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to offer Mental Health First Aid Training, a virtual six-hour course to help anyone – including faith leaders, first responders or community members – learn how to respond to signs of mental health and substance-use challenges in both adults and youth. Last year, 175 participants completed the training.

Kathleen said the work is making a difference. "Through our efforts, we are empowering others to be advocates for health, hope and healing to help people in crisis and link them to professional providers."

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