Thursday, May 09, 2013

Not Myself Today

I am a little later with today's blog because I set aside the one scheduled to point out that this is the beginning of a mental health awareness initiative called Not Myself Today. On CBC radio I heard interviews with an accomplished, athletic teen who has been dealing with depression and a veteran of the Second World War who has lived with post-traumatic stress for more than seventy years. Listening to this man who is now over ninety tearfully explaining the pain he has experienced was very moving.

These interviews put a human face to the simple reality that mental health issues affect individuals of all ages and circumstances. Even those with deep faith can be overwhelmed by stress or anxiety or depression. Not long ago I blogged about the suicide death of 27-year-old Matthew Warren, son of megachurch pastor Rick Warren. I am convinced that Matthew had the support of a loving family which was cognizant of his mental health issues and did everything possible to provide support, including the best medical help. Sadly, it wasn't sufficient because of the depth of his mental illness.

I invite you to say a prayer today for those you know who struggle with mental health issues. Perhaps you might call the friend who deals with depression personally, or is supporting a partner or child living with bipolar illness or schizophrenia. You might resolve to be consciously kind to the person in your congregation who can seem, well, "off" at times because of their illness. Let's follow the example of Christ who so often seemed to be aware that psychological, spiritual, and physical health were all aspects of a whole person.

If you are dealing with mental health issues, God be with you today and everyday. You are loved in Christ and you are a person of profound worth.



janet.rice said...

Excellent blog, articulated so well. As Christians and compassionate people, we must learn about and participate in these initiatives to offer support to so many families in pain due to mental illness...and as a side bar, educate and reduce the stigma.

Laura said...

Was at an amazing, high school dance program last evening where the dance community builds over the 4 years the kids are at the high school to quite a tearful finale by the seniors at this spring event. This year a portion of the proceeds from tickets went to Durham Mental Health, and a courageous student affiliated with the dance program let her struggle with mental health be known to all that were present in a dedication of the choreography of a dance symbolic of putting one foot in front of another and acknowledging how for those living with mental illness, this can seem impossible. I found it heartbreaking yet hopeful to watch.

Was also at a meeting last week that involved school council leaders and the guest speaker was the head psychologist for our school board. She was hopeful at the steps forward in addressing stigma,detection and support in our schools and acknowledgement of mental health as a major issue among students. One such initiative was the hiring of mental health nurses by the school boards. Of course, such a long way to go but I do sense societal shifts in perception and openness in recent years.

David Mundy said...

Thanks Janet and Laura. It's good to hear about what is happening in schools because it is helping to change destructive societal attitudes.