Adventist Leaders Challenged to Have Zero-Tolerance for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse – Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Torben Bergland, MD, associate health ministries director for the Adventist world church speaks to dozens of church administrators and health leaders during Inter-America’s Health Summit in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Jan. 22-25, 2020.  [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

January 28, 2020 | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Nigel Coke/ IAD News Staff
Dr. Torben Bergland, MD, health ministries associate director for the Adventist world church, challenged Adventist administrators and health leaders to enforce zero tolerance towards domestic violence and sexual abuse in the church, as this is a major threat to mental health and well-being.

“What is detrimental to mental health is exposure to violence, neglect and abuse which is everywhere,” said Dr. Bergland “Inside the homes, places that should be safe, there is violence, neglect and abuse. These are things as a church that we need to pay attention to. It’s not acceptable.”

“As a church we must have zero tolerance for domestic violence and sexual abuse. This is one of the biggest health challenges and health threats that we have, and this is all around the world, nowhere is exempt from it,” he said.

Bergland’s charge was made during a presentation on depression on day three of a Health Summit hosted by the Inter-American Division in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, January 22-25. Attendees included church administrators and health ministry directors from across Inter-America.

Dr. Bergland speaks to health leaders during one of his presentations on depression on Jan. 23, 2020.  [Photo: Nigel Coke/IAD]

Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances, Dr. Bergland explained. It is twice as common in women than men.
There are several factors that can play a role in depression:

  • Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
  • Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
  • Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.

Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.

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