Our mental health—or the health of our mind—plays a crucial part in our ability to live life to the fullest and to love God.
For many of us, mental illness and difficulties with mental health have been connected with shame and secrecy. We have all seen and experienced people who were not mentally well, but chances are we got little or no help from our elders in understanding what it meant. And so we also did not know if there was any help for them.
Research shows that there are three major factors that protect against the development of mental problems, especially depression. They are:
- sufficient autonomy to exercise some control in response to severe events
- material resources that allow one to make choices in the face of severe events
- psychological support from family, friends, or health providers
Mutual support makes the biggest difference in maintaining mental health; it is vitally important that we talk to one another. When we feel terrible, let us not hesitate to seek out one another. And if we are afraid, let us seek someone who is not afraid. No one should have to suffer in silence.
Tomorrow: Spiritual health
This message was adapted from the “Our Journey to Wellness” resource written in part by Tammy Devine and is available from the Women of the ELCA.