Sound Mind & Spirit
Mental Health Awareness Program

Sound Mind & Spirit (SMS) is an initiative launched by the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, under the auspices of H.G. Bishop Youssef, to promote and raise awareness on mental health.

The mission of SMS is to support the early identification and intervention of mental illnesses through education and linkages to community resources and create environments within the Church community that will foster understanding, destigmatization, and compassion for those struggling with mental illness.

There are four main workstreams established, as part of SMS, to roll out the awareness campaigns; these are Clergy, Lay Leaders/Servants, Teen and Youth, and Congregation. This website has been developed to facilitate online training and provide resources. 

Our team is formed of clergy oversight, licensed mental health counselors, field professionals, and young professionals enrolled in mental health-related graduate academic programs. 

We pray that our Lord may bless this ministry for the glory of His Holy Name and the edification and steadfastness of the believers in the Orthodox Church.

SMS TEAMS

SMS teams are composed of licensed mental health counselors, professionals in a related field, graduate students enrolled in mental health master's programs, and trained lay servants through our diocesan Family Ministry Program (FMP).

Executive Board

Composed of clergy and licensed mental health professionals. Works on program structure and strategy, fulfilling the mission and vision and through direction from H.G. Bishop Youssef. Source and maintain members for the core teams to support the ministry and its initiatives. Identify continuing education opportunities and methods of delivery.

Advisory Board

Composed of licensed professionals in the mental health field or related fields. Review educational materials and presentations created by the content team and provide feedback. Act as consultants for clergy consultation and facilitate inquiries. Individuals of the Advisory Board are assigned to clergy by region and localities. 

Content Team

Composed of graduate students enrolled in mental health programs, or recent graduates working toward licensure. Work on developing educational materials through case scenarios and presentations.

Referrals Team

Composed of select Family Ministry Program (FMP) graduates from the Florida and Tennessee programs. Serve in providing local referrals to clergy. Deliver talks/presentations to parishes as requested by clergy. Serve under the supervision of the Advisory Board.