Today’s blog is to open up a topic so often overlooked, mental health and our faith. First, consider the reality that our mental health is part of our faith, impacts our faith and improving our mental health is a path toward a fuller experience of our faith. Next, consider the reality that those experiencing struggles with mental health concerns are in our midst. Those who struggle with mental health concerns include mothers, fathers, siblings, children, friends, co-workers, religious brothers and sisters, deacons and priests. The reality is one in five persons experiences a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year (NIH, Jan 2021). The current reality is mental health disorders are more than double the results expected by the National Institute of Health due to the COVID 19 pandemic (NIH, Apr 2021). Therefore, it may be that you, or someone you love, are experiencing a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression and are wondering how this experience connects to faith and how to get help.
This monthly blog will focus on this reality, provide resources, and connect our faith to the powerful message that our Mental Health Matters and influences our relationship with others and ultimately our relationship with God. Good mental health is vital to our life’s experience and leaning on mental health resources and our faith are all avenues to promote better mental health. For example, isolation is a known trigger to poor mental health. Therefore, engaging as a community at Mass and in other ways including reading scripture together as a group, an active prayer life, and belonging to a ministry or other group at Sacred Heart are all avenues to promote better mental health.
As a starting point consider how God’s love for us in our times of trouble is a reality and so beautifully reflected here in Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.
In closing, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are considering suicide, please immediately reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. 800-273-8255.
Author: Eileen Borski, National Certified Counselor, M.Ed. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
PS. Yes, I am also the wife of Deacon Jeff Borski.
NIH, January 2021 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness
NIH, April 2021 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/messages/2021/one-year-in-covid-19-and-mental-health