Understanding and Caring For Our Mental Health

Hi Church, 

Sanctuary Ministries will be leading a seminar on mental health at Redemption on Saturday, February 4th from 9:30-11:30am. Many of us are affected by mental health issues such as stress and anxiety in our daily lives. This workshop is geared toward anyone who is looking to develop a greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues faced today. We would love for you to extend the invitation to friends or family who might also be interested. Everyone is welcome! 


This workshop breaks down the barriers between us and them when we speak about mental health, allowing each of us to recognize we are all on the mental health continuum - somewhere between languishing or flourishing, whether diagnosed with a mental illness, or not. Participants will consider individual capacity, stress and vulnerability as it relates to mental health and the resources and practices that have helped them and others move from surviving to thriving.

Participants will

  • Be introduced to what MH is/is not and some definitions of mental health and mental illness.
  • Explore the mental health continuum, from languishing to flourishing.  
  • Consider one’s own position on the MH continuum.
  • Grasp that flourishing in mental health is uniquely experienced by each individual, determined by external context, personal vulnerability (from history) and current capacity to handle stress.
  • Generate ideas of what practices and/or resources have helped them and others move from languishing to flourishing.
  • Consider how to manage one’s own mental health (personal medicine) and also walk alongside another (self-management and companioning).
    *Interactive questions, activities, and case studies will focus on anxiety and depression.


Fiona Choi

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"I once walked alongside a friend who experienced early trauma and battled with depression and suicidal thoughts. Together with a small community, we journeyed with her and gradually saw her uplifted and gain the strength in Christ to continue her walk towards mental, emotional and psychological healing. This brought me such joy. I was 14 at the time. Since witnessing the power of such transformation, I have also seen the pain of those who are marginalized for their mental health issues and struggle to be understood, even amongst those who boldly proclaim the love of Jesus Christ.

I firmly believe that a spiritual community can provide much-needed mental health support, open avenues of communication and help remove barriers that prevent potentially healing relationships from developing. My motivation for joining Sanctuary’s mental health coach program is driven by a desire to see church and parish communities work together towards healing transformation, beginning with the church and parish family and eventually extending beyond that, possibly stirring waves outside the walls and into the larger community."

Fiona has an educational background in psychology, mental health and addictions research. She is currently working on her post-doctorate training with the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction to understand and improve treatment and health outcomes of substance abuse and co-morbid psychiatric conditions.

Kate Dewhurst

"I am a pastor’s kid, have worked in pastoral ministry and through the years, I have participated in many different Christian communities -- from Catholic to Anglican to Pentecostal to Mennonite/Mennonite Brethren and non-denominational churches and parishes. Within these environments, I have experienced the powerful ways God works in community to bring support, care, healing, wholeness and transformation. Also at times, through a lack of mental health awareness and understanding, I have witnessed further marginalization of persons living with mental health issues.

A couple of years ago, I attended a Sanctuary seminar and was impacted by the stories of people with lived-experience and their insights into how churches and parishes could better support their recovery journeys. I wanted to be part of an organization that elevates these voices and their life-wisdom."

Kate is married to Nate, and has worked as a teacher, pastor and writer and she currently serves as Sanctuary's Services Coordinator. She finds the common thread of community development woven through the many roles she has filled and is inspired by the ways church communities can become even more loving places of belonging and hope.