Mental Health Awareness
Dr. Jimmy Dorrell shares the following on Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that “approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million) experiences mental illness in a given year.” Mental illness, while not easily defined, can range from a plethora of different hindrances and disorders that make normal, everyday life a challenge or borderline impossible for the individual.
Although the Bible does not discuss mental illness and its validity in terms that modern society does, there are clear examples of moderate and severe mental health challenges in it.
1. Throughout Scripture, we see biblical figures such as David (Psa. 38:4), Job (Job 3:26), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), and Jonah (Jonah 4:3) dealing with deep feelings of despair, anger, depression, and loneliness.
2. Some anxiety, depression and other symptoms may also arise when humankind deviates from God’s moral order, as with King David’s affair with Bathsheba.
3. Yet we know the human body also has chemical imbalances that create mental issues that seem completely unrelated to these. The account of Legion (Mk 5:1-20; Lk 8:26-39) may be such an example. Fortunately, there is medication available for many of these problems.
INJUSTICES TOWARD THOSE WHO STRUGGLE
1. Since most Christians are untrained to understand the complexities and differences of various mental health issues, we should be very hesitant to make judgments.
2. Through the centuries, asylums, isolation, lobotomies, cutting holes in their heads, intense moral control, mystic rituals (exorcisms), electric shock, ice, and purging have been used to try to heal the diseases.
3. More commonly today, we see people with mental illness be avoided, ridiculed, and badgered for their unique quirks.
THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH
1. The love of Christ should drive our compassion and attitudes for those who struggle.
2. Learn the warning signs of mental illness. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (“manic depression”), anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, dual diagnosis, P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder) and others.
3. Help and encourage the caretakers of family members who take care of them (avg 32hrs/wk)
4. Fight for funding from federal/state/local entities to provide better care.
5. 19% of Americans have anxiety disorders. Remember that the homeless (20%), incarcerated (37%), juvenile justice system (70%), lesbian, gay, & bisexual adults (37%) and substance abusers (19%) have a diagnosed mental condition. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition.
6. Inclusion of our friends in our church is part of our call and ministry.
7. Learning what to do and not to do to increase their trust takes some effort (touching, confronting, etc.)
8. Recognize those with challenges can still work, perform, create, laugh and love.
9. Learning what to do and not do in a particular episode is also important. Support groups like NAMI can help. Finding opportunities for treatment is also helpful.
Dr. Jimmy Dorrell
Mission Waco/Mission World
March is recognized as the Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Brain Injury Association of America conducts an annual educational campaign in order to increase public awareness about the seriousness of brain injuries and the reality that any individual can develop a brain injury. At least 3.6 million people suffer from a brain injury each year, and roughly 1 in 36 people in the United States live with permanent damage that resulted from a brain injury. This is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. In order to understand how to protect ourselves, we must first better understand the topic.
A brain injury is defined as a “disruption on the normal functioning of the brain” and can vary from person to person. Falls, being struck by or against something, and motor vehicle accidents are the three main causes of brain injuries. An acquired brain injury refers to a brain condition that occurs after birth, and it can be further classified into traumatic and non-traumatic depending on the presence or absence of external force. To prevent brain injuries, it is recommended that one wears a helmet while riding on a motorcycle, wears a helmet when working in construction, uses seatbelts while driving, and is mindful of surroundings.
In dealing with brain injuries, it is important to remember that a matter of seconds can be the difference between a full recovery or permanent damage. It is recommended to be checked by a health care professional as soon as possible after an accident, even if you feel fine. This simple action can dramatically improve your chances of recovery. Temporary confusion, dizziness, and headaches are the main signs to look for after a suspected head injury. For more information about brain injuries, you can head to https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/brain-injury-awareness
10 Facts on Aging and Health
Healthy aging is a hot topic. Whether you are concerned about weight gain or chronic diseases, the key to healthy aging is a healthy lifestyle. Eating a variety of nutritious foods, practicing portion control, and including physical activity in your daily routine can go a long way toward promoting healthy aging.
Today, for the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. A longer life represents an important opportunity, not only for older people and their families, but also for our society. Additional years provide the chance to pursue new activities while continuing to make valuable contributions to family and community. Yet the extent of these opportunities depends heavily on one factor: health. Here are some aging facts.
Fact 1: The world’s population is rapidly aging, and the number of people aged 60 years or older will rise from 900 million to 2 billion between now and 2050.
Fact 2: There is little evidence that older people today are in better health than their parents.
Fact 3: The most common health conditions in older age are noncommunicable diseases.
Fact 4: When it comes to health, there is no 'typical' older person.
Fact 5: Health in older age is not random but mostly due to physical, social environments, and health behaviors.
Fact 6: Agism may now be more pervasive than sexism or racism.
Fact 7: Comprehensive public health action will require fundamental shifts in thinking about aging and health.
Fact 8: Health systems need to be realigned to the needs of older populations.
Fact 9: In the 21st century, all countries need an integrated system of long-term care.
Fact 10: Healthy aging involves all levels and sectors of government.
We are all aging! Making progress on healthy aging will also require a better understanding of age-related issues and trends. Good well-being throughout our lifetime requires more than just eating right and getting enough movement. Building strong relationships, challenging the mind, and engaging in activities that cultivate joy are also important to a healthy and purpose-driven life.
By Donna Stauber, Ph.D.
From the Office of Mission & Ministry-Faith in Action Initiatives
Faith Community Health at Baylor Scott and White