Congregation at St. Andrew Catholic Church certified in Mental Health First Aid

On May 16th, twenty-two community members were certified in Mental Health First Aid through collaboration between the Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI) and the Office of Diversity and Equity (BHRS ODE). The training day began with a prayer and message by Father Piers Lahey, a priest at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Daly City. He shared the following message with the audience:

God, we come before You remembering all those whose lives have been touched by mental illnesses. We give thanks for the people who have given of their time and talents to help those who are dealing with mental illnesses – in their own lives, or in the lives of their families and friends. We give thanks for the improvement in medication and treatment programs that have enabled persons with mental illnesses to live productive lives. We pray that our society would do everything possible to make early diagnosis and treatment a standard procedure. We pray that stigma be removed, so that both those who are unwell, and their families, get the appropriate help as soon as symptoms appear. Guide each of us, and help us, as we endeavor to bring help and hope to all whose lives have been touched by mental health issues. Amen.

Father Lahey shared his lived experience of depression and credited his recovery and treatment to psychologists, counselors and prayer. Through community education programs such as Mental Health First Aid, our hope is that stigma related to mental health and substance abuse is decreased and our community empathy and education will be increased. We want to sincerely thank FMHI and St. Andrew’s Church of Daly City for a poignant and meaningful training of mental health education and the idea that mental health recovery can be stronger and more impactful with professional help and spirituality.