Mental Health & Spiritual Health
Covid-19 has devastated Americans’ mental health. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, caregivers report having experienced disproportionately worse mental health, increased substance abuse, and elevated thoughts of suicide. Pope Francis encourages a national commitment to become “artisans of the common good.” Artisans make the most of life’s every day junctures by focusing on the value of those they meet, whether or not a person can do something to benefit them in return, and regardless of whether they are family or friend. Anyone, in any position, can say hello to a stranger on the street rather than avert our eyes. We can choose to value people rather than devalue them.
Much of many peoples’ lives is suffering—in a pandemic or not. But sometimes we make it harder on ourselves and one another than it needs to be. Our everyday interactions are opportunities to affirm someone’s dignity and to infuse their life with kindness.
In addition, there has long been a stigma surrounding mental illness. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide are often hidden by people, ashamed at their purported weakness and lack of faith. Such beliefs, such thinking are both untrue and dangerous, causing those who are suffering to refuse necessary treatment (such as counseling or medication).
To underscore the truth that mental illness is not a sign of spiritual weakness, the Catholic Church points out saints who lived with mental illness, saints who struggled with thoughts of suicide, saints who went to therapy and took medication. Let us pray for each other!
The Sanctuary of Our Church
During the last two weeks I have sought the input of our parishioners regarding the drape behind the Tabernacle. Thanks to those who responded by e-mail or by phone. As a result, we will not have a drape which would change colors by the liturgical season with the use of lighting.