May is Mental Health Awareness Month
According to the National Institute of Health, in a given year about one in four people have a diagnosable mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, among others. One in 17 people has a severe mental illness. These mental health challenges encompass biological, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions of the individuals affected. These challenges also impact the lives of the person’s family.
Due to the stigma associated with mental illness, people with mental illness and their families often feel isolated from their faith community and thus isolated from God. As a faith community, we are called to support individuals and their families through their time of crisis when the illness first occurs and in the ensuing life with and ongoing recovery from it. The spiritual dimension is critical to the recovery process. We can offer spiritual comfort and practical support of their physical needs. In justice, our advocacy is needed to address stigma and the resulting discrimination that can occur.