With missionaries experiencing so many life changes at one time, it can be normal for stress to build and for mental health issues to arise. Here are a few ways he suggested we can better support missionaries with these challenges.
Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, General Authority Seventy, listed six guidelines to consider when managing and treating missionaries who suffer from mental health issues in a LDS Family Services system-wide seminar at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on June 15.
Elder Schwitzer, who is an assistant executive director in the Missionary Department and chair of the Missionary Medical Health Services Division, said he hopes these items will help those working for LDS Family Services as they evaluate and assist missionaries.
The first idea Elder Schwitzer discussed was that the missionary unit or companionship is what's important — even more than the individual missionary. He said just focusing efforts on one entity within this unit oftentimes doesn't treat the real problems or lead to an adequate resolution.
“When one companion is down with mental challenges, the other one will be impacted, so you have to look at the treatment of the missionary and the understanding of the missionary in the setting of the companionship,” Elder Schwitzer said.