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Mental Health Awareness 2022

Mental Health Awareness
-Excerpt from Samaritan Counseling Center

Each May, we remind one another of the need to be attentive to the mental health of those whom we love, as well as our own. Caring for our mental health is vital to our sense of wholeness – body, mind, and soul.

Let’s begin by exploring the opposite of mental health and looking closely at mental illness:

Mental Illness is a brain disorder that covers a wide range of maladies in our brains: 

  • Depression – overwhelming sadness that doesn’t go away.
  • Anxiety – when worries and fear affect our ability to function day-to-day.
  • Bipolar – when mood swings—very high highs and very low lows are pervasive and persistent.
  • Personality Disorders – long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible. Personality disorders and traits of these cause serious problems with relationship and work as people with these have trouble dealing with everyday stresses and problems, resulting in stormy relationships with other people. For example: Schizoid, Paranoid, Borderline, Antisocial, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive.
  • Psychosis – when we feel as though our brain is playing tricks on us—seeing, hearing, or believing things that don’t seem real or quite right.
  • Eating Disorders – when our physical health and overall well-being is affected by the way we eat—or don’t eat. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress – when we are continually bothered by a previous traumatic life event.
  • Addiction – when alcohol or controlled substance use takes over our lives.

Ways to dismantle the stigma that often surrounds mental Illnesses:

  • Acknowledgement that mental illness is a brain disorder that needs to be attended to by mental health professionals. 
  • Talk about our own struggles, thus normalizing mental illness.
  • Educate others. Education leads to understanding, understanding leads to empathy, empathy leads to compassionate care. 

Community and church responses to mental illness:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides support groups and free classes to those whose family members suffer from mental illnesses. NAMI meets virtually on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings.
  • COUNSELING: Samaritan Counseling’s Professional Counselors provide therapeutic counseling to individuals, couples, and families. Issues addressed include: 
    1. Grief and loss
    2. Marital stress
    3. Family struggles
    4. Individual concerns
    5. Psychological assessments

Samaritan Counseling believes that financial limitations should not preclude any person from receiving needed care so fees for their services are based on circumstances of the individual, income and family size. Samaritan Counseling’s ability to provide these services are made possible thanks to the contributions from community partners, generous individual donors, and active community fundraising activities throughout the year.
To learn more, seek a counseling session, and/or contribute:
www.samaritanmidsouth.org – or call 901-729-3900.

Because EVERYONE can benefit from knowing more about mental health, here are some suggestions:

  • Keep and/or create a rhythm to your day -
    • Start your day with positivity and possibility:
      • wake up with the sun, make your bed, get dressed,
      • eat healthy foods; try new recipes
      • be creative - try new activities or return to old ones that you used to enjoy when you had the time.
  • Connect –
    • with God:
      • Pray at least once daily (more is even better),
      • Come and worship with us at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
      • Attend Sunday school classes and bible studies.
      • Read Scripture – try reading the Psalms, for example.
        • “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
    • with Family and Friends – call and check on your friends and neighbors and visit with them in-person when possible.
    • with Nature – go outside – fresh air is good for what ails us!
  • Unplug – set a time of day when you will unplug from your devices.
  • Reach out – find mental health resources (see above lists) whenever you are in need of talking to someone.
  • Serve God by serving others –
    • There are many ways to serve God by serving others – both at GSL and in the community. Doing so will make a world of difference in your mental health.
  • Be gentle with yourself: Mindfulness and deep breathing practices are excellent.
Posted by Lucy Anne Owens at 14:13