Our Trinity Family
There is not a week that passes without someone calling our attention to mental health, and rightfully so. Mental illness includes conditions as familiar as Alzheimer’s, anorexia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, bulimia, depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, narcolepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, paranoia, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, stress, suicide and more. These illnesses of the brain can affect any of us, regardless of our age, gender, economic status, or ethnicity.
Spurs player, DeMar DeRozan has made national news advocating for mental health. Mental health is on the cover of some of our most popular magazines in our grocery store checkout aisles, and whenever there is a mass shooting, mental health is one of the first topics to be raised. According to current mental health research, in the United States, almost half of all adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14, and three-quarters begin by age 24.
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, founder of Mental Health Ministries, reminds us, “Serious mental illness has a biological component and is not the result of poor parenting or a lack of character on the part of the person afflicted with one of these “no fault disorders.” The experience of trauma, as well as genetics, can play a significant role in the development of serious mental illness, and even “certain medical conditions can contribute to mental illness…conditions like thyroid conditions, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and many other physical illnesses can develop symptoms.”
Chances are high, that nearly every person sitting in our congregation has been touched in some way by mental illness. Therefore, how can our church NOT consider how Christ wants us to respond to individuals and families suffering because of mental illness?
On Sunday, October 13th, an Ad Hoc task force of seven Trinity members gathered to begin answering the question, “How can our faith community best support individuals and families impacted by mental illness?” Our group began to look at three specific areas where we might make a difference: 1.) education, 2.) offering a well-vetted list of local mental resources and 3.) companionship/ encouragement.
We as members of Trinity do not have to become “experts” in the causes of mental illness; but we do need to become experts in how to be “a caring family of believers” in response to individuals and families impacted by mental illness. Stay tuned as you will be hearing more about how our church can help make a Christ-like difference for individuals and families experiencing mental illness.
Vicki Hollon, D.Min.
Minister of Older Adults