“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”
As leaders in the field of human services, we at Northeast Delta are continually confronted by the brokenness of the world we live in.
Each threatens to rob men and women of their dignity, sense of self-worth and livelihood.
In October 2017, President Trump described the opioid epidemic as the “worst drug crisis in American history.” With the epidemic killing more than 100 people each day in our country, he declared a nationwide Public Health Emergency “directing all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis.” In 2017, 72,000 lives were lost in the U.S. due to an overdose of prescription drugs.
This epidemic hits close to home. We have too many people in northeastern Louisiana hurting for too many reasons, and they resort to alcohol, opioids, street drugs and illicit use of other prescription medications to seek comfort. These addictions affect people from all walks of life, economic backgrounds, professions and neighborhoods.
We at Northeast Delta stand ready and able to assist hurting individuals and families struggling with addiction with compassionate and competent care, but we also recognize that these issues are not merely individual and family issues, they are societal issues. All of these issues threaten to rob our community of hope. And it will take more than the services of our agency to bring systemic change to these complex societal problems. True and lasting change will demand the cooperation and teamwork of leaders from all sectors of our communities.
This cooperative and collaborative vision is what drives our Faith Partnership Initiative. We recognize that if we are to have a sustained impact in the fight against mental health and addiction disorders in northeastern Louisiana, we cannot do it alone. We have an amazing and capable group of diverse faith leaders in this area, and we need their help to reach people by combining our efforts to serve better and support our communities.
This past year, our Faith Partnership Initiative has focused specifically on providing a series of trainings equipping faith leaders in addiction prevention and recovery assistance. Through trainings in October 2018, January 2019 and May 2019 clergy and lay leaders have been equipped to take the next steps in developing addiction prevention and recovery ministry teams in their congregations.
Faith leaders are often the first point of contact for individuals and families who face mental health issues or traumatic events. In times of crisis, many will turn to trusted leaders in their communities, or in the church, before turning to mental health professionals. When leaders know how to respond and where to direct them for help, they become significant assets to both the individuals they shepherd and the community as a whole.
We know that faith can offset hopelessness and point toward a better future. With coordinated resources, we will be able to help our region grow and prosper to its full potential. When evidence-based treatment is combined with faith, our region’s people will gain a greater sense of purpose, belonging and hope.
Come join us at our next training on Thursday, October 10, 2019 and Friday, October 11, 2019 as we continue the journey of hope, bringing light into the dark places of addiction claimed by our community. Contact Strategic Initiatives Coordinator Andrew Koetsier at Andrew.Koetsier@la.gov or 318-362-4237 to learn more and register today. Join us as we move by faith from darkness to light.