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How Family Services Helped a Newlywed Partner With Her Savior

Family Services counseling helped Brittany Westover learn how to partner with the Savior

Ezra Westover and Brittany Copeland (now Westover) take engagement photos in Ririe, Idaho, on October 13, 2023. Photo provided by Brittany Westover, courtesy of Church News.© All rights reserved.

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By Mary Richards, Church News

Brittany Westover describes herself as happy-go-lucky. She has always had hope — which she especially needed because she grew up in poverty and an abusive household in Georgia.

“I kept that optimism until middle school and high school, when things just got harder for me. I began to struggle with anxiety, depression and PTSD,” she said.

Westover said there were moments when she felt like everyone knew she was struggling, but they didn’t know how to help her.

“I was relying wholeheartedly on the Lord during this time. That was the biggest motivator for me,” Westover said, who is now newly married and a member of the Rexburg Idaho Married Student 1st Stake.

Brittany Westover visits San Francisco, California, on September 9, 2023. Photo provided by Brittany Westover, courtesy of Church News.© All rights reserved.

While she was living in Utah, she began meeting with a therapist with Family Services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Church leaders created Family Services to be a resource for local leaders responding to the social and emotional needs of members. Professional counselors who work with Family Services are aligned with gospel principles, and they use a solution-focused therapy model to focus on issues that interfere with the ability to make and keep sacred covenants.

Westover said through her counseling sessions, she began to feel more independent and had more confidence in herself and her ability to regulate her emotions.

“I continued to meet with her for quite some time, even until I moved to Idaho. When I went through hard times, she was there for me,” Westover said. “My mental health is now the best it has ever been. I feel like I can handle my emotions. I have the skills and tools.”

The Church’s Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said in a “Hear Him” video that when someone is in the middle of a trial, they can feel distant from the Savior. But people can hear Him and receive guidance by learning about the best resources for their needs.

Besides Family Services resources, the Church has a self-reliance course called “Finding Strength in the Lord: Emotional Resilience,” which has been helping participants build more emotional resilience — the ability to adapt to challenges, change thinking patterns and increase positive emotions, all while moving forward with faith in Jesus Christ.

The 10-week course began more than two years ago and is now offered globally in 30 languages.

“Mental illness and other emotional trials are not always in our control,” Bishop Caussé said. “But we can make changes and seek help in order to strengthen our connection with and guidance from the Lord.”

Westover said she has learned to rely even more on hope and prayer and those things that bring her closer to heaven.

“Always include Jesus Christ in every aspect. He wants to hear from you,” she said. “That is why He is here; His whole purpose is to heal you. Some of the most healing moments I had was by seeking Him.”

Brittany and Ezra Westover on their wedding day in Pocatello, Idaho, December 14, 2023. Photo provided by Brittany Westover, courtesy of Church News.© All rights reserved.

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