With more and more focus on the importance of addressing our mental health, many Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities struggle with how to effectively address mental health concerns in their religious communities. Pastor Jevon Billups is doing the important work of raising awareness in these communities. Here’s what he shared about his work:
What is your current career status?
"I am honored to serve the community in the following capacities: (1) Senior Pastor of Dominion Life Center; (2) Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention; (3) National Trainer for Mental Health First Aid with the Mental Health Association of Maryland."
What motivates you to continue within this line of work?
"My motivation for this work is drawn from my personal experience. I am someone who lives with a mental illness. However, for many years I suffered in silence. Much of this was due to lack of information and the stigma around mental health in the faith and BIPOC communities. Both clinicians and laypersons should be equipped with skills to recognize concerns or crises and connect others with resources."
What is important for our readers to know about Faith and Wellness?
"It is important to look at wellness in its entirety. Many people focus on one of the dimensions of wellness: intellectual, emotional, occupational, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and creative wellness. However, it is vitally important that we develop a balanced wellness plan to regularly focus and give time to all nine dimensions of wellness. I believe that wellness is essential to our spiritual formation."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness agrees, “As we learn more and more about the connections between the mind and body, it becomes clear that spirituality, religion, and faith can help some individuals live well with mental health conditions. Some individuals and families turn to faith in times of crisis to help in their recovery while others find that spiritual practices help them continue to manage their mental health.”1
You can connect with Pastor Billups through his organization’s website here: https://www.dcbaptist.org/. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naeemah Staggs, MHS, is an Author, Educator and Wellbeing Expert. Connect with her online at https://linktr.ee/ichoosethesun.
Faith & spirituality. NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Faith-Spirituality.
Photo Courtesy of:
Jazmin Billups/Freeze the Moments Photography.