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         Mental Illness
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‘Out of the depths


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WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY - 2010

Today 10th October – is World Mental Health Day and the start of Mental Health Week. It is a time to reflect on one of life’s greatest challenges – mental illness – and to address the stigma it brings.



Mental illness affects people of all ages, genders and diverse backgrounds. It includes anxiety and depression, postnatal depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The causes of mental illness include biological factors, social situations such as an abusive childhood, domestic violence, problematic relationships, pressures of life including significant losses, and drug addiction. With appropriate treatment – such as counselling, medication and learning to cope with life’s pressures – most people who experience mental health concerns do recover, while those who have long term disorders do learn to manage and adapt to their limitations.


Statistics repeatedly show that one person in five will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Multiply that by family members and friends, work colleagues and acquaintances, and church friends, and it is obvious that mental health concerns have a significant impact in our community. Sadly, the stigma of mental illness is still rife. Many people choose to hide their struggle from those around them, while still others refuse to seek help for fear of what others may think about them.


We in the church need to be aware of those around us who may be struggling with a mental health concern. We may not know exactly what to say, what to do – however a kind word, a smile, can make all the difference to those who may be finding life quite difficult.



LET US PRAY.



Father God, on this – World Mental Health Day – we come to You, acknowledging that we are all frail human beings, all of us in need of Your love, Your kindness, care and compassion. Not one of us is perfect, and indeed, many of us have experienced – or are experiencing – our own journey with mental illness. Today we stand with those who live with mental health concerns. We ask Father God, that You will bring healing, hope and wholeness to them as they deal with those concerns. We ask that they may know Your love in a special way today, and every day. We pray too for those who may be finding it difficult to seek help – give them courage Lord, to reach out, and direct them to the right person for that help. We honour those who – despite their challenges – are making the most of their situation. We pray for grace and wisdom as they relate to those around them.


Lord God, we also remember family and friends as they support their loved ones, sometimes in very challenging circumstances. Oh God, may they know Your presence with them, Your wisdom and patience. Touch them with Your love, and give them strength and courage as they deal with complex situations.


Father God, we remember those who work with people with mental illness – psychiatrists, psychologists, case managers, social workers, counsellors, nurses and other support workers. We thank You for them and for their dedication. We ask that they too may have wisdom, kindness and understanding as they work in this area.


We pray, Father God, that we in this church would be known as a loving, caring people, reflecting Your kindness to those who find life so difficult because of mental health concerns.


Thank You, Father God, for who You are, for Your love, grace and mercy shown to each one of us, each day. Thank You Lord, Amen.


Irene Frances


See also


Psalm 88 Commentary