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Written by

Mary R. Jacob

Mary is a licensed and nationally certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. For over 25 years, Mary served on the staff of Lutheran Counseling Service, Inc. Since retiring in 2013, Mary continues to consult with health ministries, church staff, and individuals on issues of health and wellness in body, mind, and spirit.

Recent Posts by Mary R. Jacob

Caregiving: A Ministry of Love

As autumn creeps into the air in my native Southeastern U.S., there’s a sense of slowing. After a busy summer traveling and providing care to various family members, there are finally some moments for reflection and sharing.


As a mental health nurse practitioner, over the years I participated in an array of therapeutic activities designed to promote healing and wholeness for those suffering with emotional pain. One type of therapy group involved reading and reflecting on what an author might be saying. Reading selections were chosen with a goal of opening personal awareness to self and others, so that thoughts, feelings, and attitudes could be explored in a supportive environment. It was a special type of book club (before book clubs became popular) that we called “bibliotherapy.”

Where is God in all of this?

I live in Florida. Here, February has been filled with loss and grief following yet another school shooting with seventeen students and teachers losing their lives. I have been moved by the teens speaking out and openly sharing their feelings as they struggle to cope with tragedy. "Mental health" is on the minds and lips of so many people here—the mental health of the perpetrator, the students who witnessed or hid from the shooting and who lost beloved friends and teachers, teachers who strove to protect students, and the mental health of those who wonder how to prevent incidents such as this one. Suddenly the lack of needed mental health resources is a hot topic. Lives have been forever changed here in the past month.

Water to Share

While worshiping in a recent church service and singing the hymn “When the Poor Ones,” I was reminded how we are all in this life together, despite the divisive rhetoric that dominates the public space these days.

Whole Health Begins with Mental Health

My professional association, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, has as its theme for 2017 “Whole Health Begins with Mental Health . . . Let It Begin with You!” I like this theme because it lifts up the wholeness in which we are created: body, mind, and spirit. It also reminds me that spiritual and emotional health is the foundation for a person’s whole health. Unless we tend to our spiritual and emotional needs, it is not possible to live in a state of health. The body, mind, and spirit are inextricably bound together. The last part of the phrase, “Let it begin with you,” is a good place to start as we seek to serve as advocates for those who suffer with mental illness among us.

Five Mindful Steps to a Mental Health Ministry

In our book Christian Concepts for Care (CPH, 2014), readers are encouraged to view their church congregation as a source of hope and healing for those with mental health issues, along with their families. A healthy faith community can be a place of acceptance and growth for those who suffer at every age and stage of life.

Spiritual Healing Practices

We are in a season of seemingly unending hot temperatures, and sometimes hot tempers erupt too. These hot temperatures and tempers raise many questions: How are human moods and actions affected by the environment? What conditions tend to aggravate anger and its expression? How can we practice processing our anger in a God-pleasing way? Can this practice benefit a person’s mental health?

The Power of “WE” in Faith Together

Providing Love and Boundaries in a Church Community

Susan, a forty year old single-again woman, has been a member of a church for most of her adult life.  Her parents were in faith together as lifelong members, and as they became older and infirm, requiring care, Susan became increasingly anxious.  She had always been the center of their attention.  Now, she faced difficult decisions about their care, along with her brother, who lived in another city. There was no one to take care of her as her parents had done - financially, emotionally, and socially.

3 Levels of Care: Tuning Into Body, Mind, and Spirit

Springtime is in the air, with all the hope and new life that goes with this change of season. Sadly, there are times when a person cannot even enjoy the promise of newness that our faith gives. Perhaps the winter has been harsh with loss or disappointments. There may be a diminished resiliency for those who have endured many seasons of loss and change.

Concepts for Care

When I think of “mental health,” in my mind’s eye I see a human image of wholeness in body, mind, and spirit—ever changing, ever growing, a being who is sometimes at optimum levels of functioning, sometimes at less than optimal, and always vulnerable to a condition of “mental disorder” in which suffering can overwhelm.