BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s clear Hurricane Michael had a physical and mental impact on those who lived through it and many are still trying to cope with the mental effects.
The storm didn’t spare local churches or places of worship, as sanctuaries across the area are also still trying to rebuild.
As the process continues, pastors and other church leaders are still doing their part to help members of their congregations heal mentally, emotionally and spiritually from the storm.
“October 10th was a really really bad day but as bad as it was, the majority of the people I’ve talked to, the 11th of October through now has been the most traumatic,” said North Star Church, Callaway Campus Pastor Roy Mansfield.
Even though churches may serve as a place of peace, the stresses of everyday life don’t stay outside the doors.
“I think the biggest challenge for people that I’ve seen is just the day to day grind of trying to recover. In the Callaway area, a large majority of people are not even close,” Mansfield said.
Insurance companies, contractors, and job search or security are just some of the things every person affected by the storm are dealing with.
“Part of the stressors that I’ve experienced in the congregation, some of them have been related to grief and so losing your possessions, losing your home, just losing a sense of life can cause grief,” said Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Jesse Nelson.
These church leaders say are bringing in mental health professionals to share information but also using the word of God to help in the healing process.
“How to turn a set back into a comeback cause most of us at some level got the setback part and so just helping people to see in a practical day to day way how the peace that you can have through Jesus can affect your life,” Mansfield said.
Even though there may be a stigma on getting mental health help, Nelson says a person who walks into any sanctuary should feel open to break down their walls and talk about whatever it is they need.
“Take the mask off. I know sometimes as Christians we believe we’re always supposed to be happy, always supposed to be cheerful and I’ll ask people how they are. Don’t give me the ‘hey, I’m blessed and highly favored’ if that’s not what you’re really feeling,” Nelson said.
Mansfield says the main goal, is to keep those who sit in their pews uplifted as they navigate through the rebuilding process.
“It’s hard to have hope but there is hope. There’s hope that God is in your life and he’ll help you through it,” Mansfield said.
To find all the mental health resources in the area, click here.