Our Story

A serious gap exists between someone receiving medical treatment for mental illness and them learning how to live well in spite of it.  This gap is critical. So we become the bridge, the guide from the point of diagnosis to living well.

Our Story

One out of every five children, teens, and adults in America has a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. And the lives of those who love them are also affected by their mental health challenge. This means that a mental health challenge touches approximately 50% of the American population.

And while the doctor, therapist, and medicine are necessary, they are not enough.  Suicide rates continue to rise.  The medical (the doctor, therapist, and medicine) aspects of mental health recovery can lead to a type of “learned helplessness.” 

When someone’s life is interrupted by mental illness, it can be tough to see a practical way forward with day-to-day life, and a good future seems out of reach.  Feelings of hopelessness begin to settle in.  This hopelessness can lead to suicidal thinking and even death by suicide. W

A serious gap exists between someone receiving medical treatment for mental illness and them learning how to live well in spite of it.  This gap is critical. So we become the bridge, the guide from the point of diagnosis to living well.   Research shows that finding a way to live a hope-filled life can be best caught, not taught, by peers who have “been there” and are now living well.  Research also shows that the best antidote for hopelessness is a hope that is rooted in faith.

We provide those who are hopeless a safe place to process their pain and experience faith-filled hope modeled, shared, and given in support groups, classes, coaching, and resources that are led and written by peers who are living well in spite of their mental health challenge. This serves as a bridge between someone’s diagnosis and living well in spite of their diagnosis.  Our approach is based on seven mental health recovery principles and 25 years of clinical research on hope. And it works.

Because of Fresh Hope, thousands of people are living active, faith- and hope-filled lives.  They are enjoying their relationships, their families, their work, and are feeling more hopeful than ever before.  They are living well in spite of their mental health challenge. They are thriving!

Living Well In Spite Of A Mental Health Diagnosis Pastor Brad Hoefs, M.Div.

About Tenets / Principles of Fresh Hope

Fresh Hope is based upon six tenets/principles which we see as foundational for living well in spite of mental health diagnosis. These tenets/principles are for both the person who has a diagnosis (blue print) as well as for the loved ones of those who have a diagnosis (green print). The black print on each of the tenets is what we believe we share in common regarding that tenet. Each tenet is based upon a Scripture. These tenets are read at the beginning of each meeting.
We do not regard these tenets/principles as “steps”, but rather as building blocks of wellness. These tenets have not been created by a doctor or therapist, but by a peer who also has a mental health diagnosis – our founder, Brad Hoefs. Having overcome a devastating manic episode and a diagnosis of bipolar I, Brad “discovered” these faith-based principles, along with the help of his therapist and doctor, on his road to wellness. These principles work as we “work” through them. While the road to wellness is not linear and certainly has many twist and turns, we believe it quite possible to live well in spite of having a mental illness – because of the hope we have in Christ!

Fresh Hope Tenets

Tenets for those with mood disorders  |  Tenets for loved ones

My life is affected by a mental health issue and can become unmanageable and hopeless, especially if ignored or untreated. Therefore, I choose the help and support of others to overcome the struggles and find more joy in life.

My loved one’s mental health challenge has also left me feeling helpless and hopeless. Therefore, I choose the help of others in learning about the disorder and choosing healthy boundaries for myself.

Together, we have understanding. We remind each other of the Lord’s love, and that He alone can do all things. He is the source of our hope, and in Him we can overcome all things.

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
My mental health challenge has also affected my relationships and the lives of those around me. Therefore, I choose to overcome for both my own good, and the good of those who love me.

I haven’t always responded to my loved one’s mental health issue in ways that were good for the relationship. Therefore, I choose to learn better ways to communicate with, support, and encourage my loved one.

Together, we commit to speaking the truth in love, healing broken relationships and viewing each other as the Lord views us.

“So let’s pursue those things which bring peace and which are good for each other.”
Romans 14:19 (God’s Word Translation, 1995)
My disorder can become an excuse. Therefore, I choose to believe I can live a full and rich life in spite of my disorder. I choose the support of people who will urge me to “push through”.

At times I don’t understand my loved one and can allow them to either wallow in their excuses, or push them too hard. Therefore I choose to learn healthy, appropriate ways to contribute to my loved one’s recovery.

Together we do better than trying on our own. We will hold one another accountable for learning, growing, and choosing to push through in hope. “So let’s pursue those things which bring peace and which are good for each other.”

“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
My disorder can lead me to feel hopeless. Therefore, I choose to believe, regardless of my feelings, that there is help and hope for my physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.

At times I also feel hopeless, letting my loved one’s actions and recovery define my happiness. Therefore, I choose to live with healthy emotional boundaries, and I choose my own joy despite the ups and downs of my loved one.

Together we remind each other that our hope and joy come from the Lord. He alone is able to fulfill our needs in every aspect of our lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
While medicine is a key component in my recovery, it is not the only answer. Therefore, I choose to explore new ways of thinking and acting in my relationships and daily living.

I, too, have been part of the cycle of dysfunctional living, either thinking I had all the answers or thinking the problem didn’t belong to me. Therefore, I choose to submit myself to learning new behaviors and taking responsibility for my own healthy, balanced living.

Together we choose freedom over suffering, and joy in living through self-knowledge in action.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5
At times I have allowed myself to become a victim, “defined” by my disorder. Therefore I choose to overcome and live in hope and joy, in spite of my disorder.

At times, I have viewed myself as a victim of my loved one’s behavior and disorder, living in resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or self pity. Therefore, I choose to separate the disorder from the person I love, forgive and let go of the past, and live as a contributor to successful recovery.

Together, we share in each other’s victories and celebrate the whole person.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Our purpose is to encourage one another to choose God’s fresh hope for our daily life and future.

Who we see here remains confidential. What is said here stays here. We don’t judge; nor do we lecture.
We listen, we share and we grow.

Our Mission:

To empower individuals to live a full and rich faith-filled life in spite of a mental health diagnosis.

The Goals of Fresh Hope (Vision)

  • To equip and empower individuals (and their loved ones) who are affected by a mental health diagnosis to live a full, rich and purpose-filled life in wellness and wholeness (mental, physical and spiritual) through participation in local Fresh Hope groups which are Christ-centered peer support groups, as well as online forums, educational opportunities and faith based mental health resources.
  • To provide ongoing assistance to individuals and their families during times of transition, by providing Mental Health Navigators in local communities who are Certified Peer Support Specialists and Certified Wellness Coaches.
  • To challenge the Christian church to address the mental health crisis in their community- challenging them to provide a “compassionate, understanding, safe and supportive-place” for those who struggle with mental health issues. This includes understanding that many mental health challenges are due to the brain’s improper function and are not character flaws, moral failures or a spiritual weakness.
  • To advocate on both the state and national levels for continued mental health reforms to repair the issues that “broken” in the system.
  • To provide peer-run wellness centers in the local communities as a positive place of encouragement, connection, empowerment and learning.
  • To join with other organizations and voices in tearing down the thick walls of cultural stigma regarding “mental illness.”

Fresh Hope Philosophy

Fresh Hope is a peer-to-peer Christ-centered wellness approach to mental health recovery based upon six tenets that empowers people to connect both their faith and recovery principles. This approach both empowers and encouraging individuals live full and rich lives in spite of their diagnosis.

The Fresh Hope approach includes the following beliefs:

  • Peer-to-peer support plays a very significant role in one’s successful recovery.
  • There is a difference between “just coping” and thriving.
  • When used exclusively, the medical model can lead to a “learned helplessness”.
  • Recovery and wellness is a “taking back” of one’s life and living it to the fullest possible.
  • Peers who give back by coming along side others in recovery sometimes receive even more than they “give.”
  • People who have “been there” oftentimes understand and help more people than those who have not been “through it.”
  • Faith in Christ in foundational to having hope in hopeless situations.
  • The Christian church needs to be proactive and reach out with hope to the millions who are in emotional pain.
  • The state and federal mental health systems cannot do “it all”. There are many things they could improve upon.
  • One must accept personal responsibility for his/her own recovery and wellness.
  • Sometimes you have to simply “push-through” even though you feel horrible or feel like giving up.
  • It’s self-destructive to use your mental health diagnosis as an excuse for not moving forward in recovery.
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Take the First Step in Starting Your Own Fresh Hope Group

Webinar: How Churches Can Facilitate Access to Mental Health Care

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What Your Gift Can Do for Offering Hope to the Hopeless

For every 32 cents given, we are able to offer hope for a week to one person who has a mental health challenge.

For every $16.64 given annually, we are able to offer hope for one year to one person.

Any amount you are able to give will help to offer hope to the hopeless.

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