Mental Health & Addiction Ministry

Bethlehem’s Mental Health & Addiction Ministry is committed to reducing/breaking down the stigma and secrecy of mental illness and/or addiction by raising awareness, increasing understanding, and providing information, resources and education.

Our Mission:

The Mental Health & Addiction Ministry strives to help make Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities a safe, supportive, and welcoming faith community for individuals living with mental illness and/or addiction and their families.  As a caring congregation, we are committed to reducing/breaking down the stigma and secrecy of mental illness and/or addiction by raising awareness, increasing understanding, and providing information and resources. We seek to be a sanctuary — a safe place — for people with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, a place they can experience God’s peace and love, and to feel valued and respected.


  • Education to provide and equip BLC members with a better understanding of various mental health and substance use disorders and issues encountered by those in our congregation and community at large.
  • Support and encouragement of individuals living with mental illness and/or substance abuse and the people who care for them.
  • Creation of an accepting, safe and welcoming environment by raising awareness of mental health issues through education, advocacy, and resources.
  • Ongoing and open dialogue and sharing at all levels of our church community designed to overcome the stigma and shame of mental illness and/or substance abuse.



Featured Events:

See All

Mental Health & Addiction Resources

Ministry Team

  • Kristen Swan
  • Diane Nimmer*
  • Jill Olsen*
  • Sarah Abdul
  • Gail Feichtinger*, Co-Chair
  • Heidi Simpson Tjeltveit*, Co-Chair
  • Diane Waarvik, Staff
  • Heidi Peterson, Staff 

* Serves as an ambassador to Mental Health Connect.

Please get in touch with Diane or Heidi for further information or if you have an interest in serving on the ministry team.


The Comfort Book: A Review

By Heidi Simpson Tjeltveit and Jill Olsen

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig is as advertised – “This is the book to pick up when you need the wisdom of a friend, the comfort of a hug or the consolation of knowing the messy miracle that is being alive”. It is a collection of thoughts, reflections and wisdom from famous and not-so-famous people and from the author’s own journey through episodes of deep clinical depression to come out of the other side. All of them are deftly combined with Haig’s own guidance to the reader on finding their way back to hope.

Matt Haig speaks directly to the reader in tones of reassurance, empathy and deep knowing. He tells them, “It’s okay to be who you are. Be that teacup with a chip in it. That’s the one with the story.” He teaches self-affirmation and self-love, and encourages individuals to value their own uniqueness and their right to exist imperfectly in the world. He does this without being saccharine while offering specific and proven strategies and tips for the reader to use – or not – to get through tough times.

The author talks about the peaks and valleys of depression and how the topographical metaphor makes sense. “One can definitely feel the steep descents and uphill struggles in life. But it is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” In addition, he writes, “In order to get over a problem it helps to look at it. You can’t climb a mountain that you pretend isn’t there.”  The author is describing what’s “normal” in the experience of depression and encourages the reader to seek help of the life-saving kind like he had.

Throughout the book Matt Haig weaves his personal mantra, “Nothing is stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up.” Whether you are someone battling depression or know someone who is, or if a person you care about just needs a boost, this mantra and The Comfort Book can make a positive and lasting difference in one’s life.

Jill Olsen and Heidi Simpson Tjeltveit are members of Bethlehem’s Mental Health and Addiction Ministry Team.


Mental Health Connect (MHC)

Living with mental health concerns can be tough. Finding help can be even tougher. Mental Health Connect Navigators assist in making the right connections.

Mental Health Connect (MHC) works to provide community-based resources, support, and education to improve access to mental health services and to connect individuals and families with the services they need.

Mental Health Connect is a collaborative of faith-based communities, working together to:

  • Support finding community-based resources
  • Provide support and education
  • Improve access to mental health services
  • Connect individuals and families with the services they need
More Info

Mental Health Navigators

assist individuals and families in obtaining mental health treatment, resources, support, and education. Mental Health Navigators are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am5:00 pm.

We are here to help you find resources and gain knowledge to help ease the pain, frustration, and confusion some may experience living with mental health concerns. 

For Free & Confidential Help

Email [email protected]
Call or Text 612.642.1220
Fill out the online form

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits and responsibilities of joining the MHC Collaborative, contact Vicki Elliott, Mental Health Connect Director.

Staff Contacts

Director of Congregational Care Ministries

Diane Waarvik

Phone: 612-312-3375
Minnetonka Faith Community Nurse

Heidi Peterson

Phone: 952-935-3419 ext. 215