Mental Health Monday – Reflection

Standard

​I had originally wanted to write and post this today in the morning, but when I got out what I thought I wanted to reflect on, it didn’t feel right. It said all the right words, but the tone was off, and the objective was off from what I intended in the thought process. As it turned out, I had the opportunity this morning to attend my parish’s semi-annual Anointing Mass, which administers the sacrament of the sick, and for healing. It’s a really wonderful experience. It’s similar to a regular mass with the inclusion of the anointing with oil. The readings are related to sickness and health, and the homily is always inspirational. The range of people attending is literally the range of people who attend the church. Residents of nursing homes come by bus. Some people are in wheelchairs, some use walkers, some have heart conditions, joint problems, MS, migraines, all sorts of ailments including mental illnesses and health issues.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I learned that last year at my Diocese’s annual Spring Enrichment program. One of the attending vendors was the Diocese’s Consultation Center. They gave me this bracelet, 

and provided resources. Obviously anything with the Diocese will fall under Catholic doctrine, but the idea that the official church is to welcome and help those of their people struggling with these issues is a big step in the right direction.
During my own parish’s Prayer of the Faithful, they have included mental health ailments along with the other sick mentioned for as long as I’ve personally been attending masses with my priest.

Last week my Diocese held the Spring Enrichment. It was a much smaller event than in previous years, so I was surprised to see several vendor tables. They are mostly publishers related to Catholic School education, books written by the keynote speaker, pastoral care and other educational opportunities, and this year, it was very unexpected to see a table manned by the NYS group of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They had pamphlets and resources for self-hairm and suicide prevention and many of the things their organization covers. The significance of having them there, in their own right, promoting their organization, appearing to me without any restrictions as far as Catholic doctrine; no limitations on what they were offering.

I was very happy to see this as historically many religious groups have upheld a stigma against mental illness and the taking of medication to help those illnesses and issues. I am so glad to see more open acceptance of mental health as a medical issue, which it’s always been despite being hidden for so long. It’s so important that we normalize and eliminate the stigma of mental illness and it is long past time.
It was like a light being turned on in the dark.

Mental Health Monday – Understanding Mental Illness – An Interview with Stranger Thing’s David Harbour

Standard

One Look at Understanding Mental Illness.

I think it’s important to hear from people we like and respect and hear their stories. David Harbour says a lot of things in this short interview that I’ve heard before and that I try to promote in my own life. He is known recently from his role in Netflix’s Stranger Things and is starring in the upcoming Hellboy 2.

 A few takeaways:

1. Stop the stigma.

2. Mental illness is not the completely negative thing it implies to many people. We can live with various forms of mental illness, or rather we all have mental health issues that we contend with and need to adapt to, regardless of level.

3. Medication is not a bad word. It is also not an end-all solution. It is so very helpful when used in conjunction with other therapies.

4. You are not stronger if you avoid taking medication for your mental illness/continued mental health.

5. If you and I both have depression, we may  understand and empathize, but no one’s situation is exactly alike. Despite that, we can help each other and share ideas that work for us.

Mental Health Monday is Coming

Standard

Tomorrow begins a new, not so new series on mental health. It will include links, resources, my own reflections, and other relevant items. It won’t necessarily be every week, but I do have four in a row planned out for January. 

I personally find January and February to be difficult for many people, what with the come down from the busyness of the holidays, the winter months that keep us more isolated, and the lack of holiday time or days off from work and school. Sometimes, it’s good just to sit back, take a look at what we did for those busy days, look at the photos, re-read the Christmas cards, and enjoy our new found time. That doesn’t work for everyone, but hopefully, everyone will find something for them on these Mondays.

REPOST: Coping Skills Tool Box

Standard

Let’s Make a Coping Skills Tool Box is a wonderful resource that I’ve found that gives suggestions on what you might add to your own coping skills tool box. Have a look, and if you think of anything else that you find useful, please add it in the comments.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Standard

My Crisis Resource Page

Depression Lies

Wil Wheaton: My Name is Wil Wheaton. I live with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety. I Am Not Ashamed.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Better U, Better Us– this is something I found through actress Yvette Nicole Brown. It is an organization that focuses on the mental well-being of people of color.

June is also PTSD Awareness Month. Mission 22 is an organization that helps veterans through their mental health issues.

Below the cut, a message from actress, Rose McGowan in addition to a list of international suicide prevention hotlines compiled by her.

Continue reading

Mental Health  Monday – Resources

Standard

In the last of my mental health series (for now), I am sharing with you resources that have been recommended to me. If you have others to share, please do so in the comments and I can add them to my crisis intervention page as well as including them in furture resource posts.

Suicide Prevention HelpLine: 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

IMAlive (an online crisis network)
The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

TWLOHA: To Write Love on Her Arms

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255. There is also a confidential chat line on the website.

March for Our Lives


Carrie Fisher was a champion for ending mental health stigma, and did so by talking about it. This article is a good reminder of that part of her legacy.

Wil Wheaton is also a strong advocate of getting help and talking about it. His openness helped me in mine.

Mental Health Monday on Tuesday – Coloring Books

Standard

Sometimes you just need a mindless break in order to become mindful. Or just to take a breather. I began to color during an art-slash-spiritual retreat, and sitting with a group of people listening to music, lights dimmed, but enough to see the papers and the colors of the pencils was transcendental. It was soothing and calming, and there is no such thing as a mistake on a coloring sheet. You can find a variety in the dollar section at Target or the Dollar store. My most recent acquisition – the Celtic coloring book – was from a bargain store for $1.99. Well worth it.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. Please add any other suggestions in the comments below.