First in a series of what the SS. Isidore and Maria Parish Community can do to support those with mental health challenges and their families.
These past few months many of us if not all of us have at some level experienced anxiety, mood swings, depression and other challenges to our mental well-being. Mental illnesses, whether mild or severe, are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion, behavior or a combination of these. According to the National Institute of Health, in any given year, 1 in 5 people will have a diagnosable mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar disease, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, among others. For one 24 people it will be severe and persistent. Mental illness affects the biological, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of individuals. For those who already have a mental illness the past few months most likely have heightened their symptoms. The illness also impacts the lives of the person’s family and their friends. These conditions often raises profound questions of faith such as why does God allow sickness and/or why me?
As a faith community we are called to support individuals and their families when the illness first occurs and in their ongoing managing of their illness and their recovery. Spiritual supports and companionship are critical to the recovery process. As a faith community, we can offer spiritual support through our prayerful presence in people’s lives and our understanding of what people are experiencing. Mental illnesses often isolate people from their communities due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of these illnesses by the person and by the community. When we acknowledge the pain of a person’s illness, understand the facts versus the myths surrounding mental illness, and provide support and companionship throughout the healing and recovery process, we can make a huge difference in the ability of people and families to manage these types of illnesses.
Learn more about the SS. Isidore and Maria Parish Mental Health Ministry here, or call Tammy at 860-633-9419.