Mental Health Awareness
One way in which you can let your light shine by taking note of Mental Health Awareness Day. This is being observed by the World Federation of Mental Health today Thursday 10th October and this year will be focusing on the Prevention of Suicide. This global organisation’s mission is to bring awareness to our communities. They realise that if this information shared within our communities, our recognition and understanding towards mental health will hopefully become a way of life – breaking taboos on mental health that has plagued us since human existence. For more information https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2019/
Suicide, although it’s not a mental health illness, is the result of mental distress. Let’s take a person with financial difficulties who under mental distress may –
• Neglect the situation and reluctantly face the consequences with trepidation
• Seek support to have their finances under control with anticipation
• Have physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, sleepless nights
• Experience shaming factors homelessness, addictions etc
• End their life in despair.
We can change the example of finances to relationship breakdowns, terminal illness, loneliness, peer pressure, hopelessness, abuse, homeless, etc. These can all be factors that may cause an individual to carry out the act of suicide.
However, when you’re in the midst of despair having people say ‘snap out of it or there are people worst off than you…’ are just some quotes those who are despondent may find unhelpful. Unfortunately, this rhetoric is relayed by friends and family desperate to be of support which may not be helpful. This even extends to those within the church, who wish to bombard those hurting with scriptures and judgements whilst not really seeing or hearing the emotional anguish they may be undergoing.
Job a righteous man living with total devastation, dejection and depression after losing everything, describes this catastrophe “if only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! 3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas” Job 6:2-3 (NIV), when visited by 3 of his closest friends.
Job’s friends did 3 things that were really helpful.
• They turned up
• They listened to his plight
• Spent time with him
Here Job’s friends show us that although we really want to help a person in despair, without the right skills, knowledge and wisdom our help can be more harm than good. This doesn’t excuse you from listening, being present or by offering your time to develop a relationship – this may be all they need at that time, just to see your light shining… hope. Are we able to just be available, silent and listen to what someone has to say…just being there? Ecclesiastes 3:7 (NIV)
There was however one other person that was overlooked in the scripture and when introduced it was done with a negative tone… Job’s wife. What assistance was offered to her and how do you think you could have supported her?
Judas, known for taking his life for betraying Christ. Could Judas’ life turned out differently if he felt that he could talk to someone or was approached by one of the other disciples about what he had done? We know Judas was one of the 12 Disciples, in a close relationship with Christ and yet he turned against Him. It is difficult to imagine the despair, remorse and shame that weighed heavy on him. Could you have reached out to Judas without judging, belittling or snubbing him?
Letting your light shine, is to be available for those who may need to talk and rhis is a good place to start. This can be done by noticing changes in people you meet in your everyday activities like getting the family ready for the day, walking the dog, church, commuting to work/school, lunch, gym etc.
You are not expected to be a professional but present and equipped with your light of hope to someone in need. While you pray for those hurting, here below are several organisations you can familiarise yourself with, who want to listen too!
- Papyrus – supports young people in the prevention of suicide who also have a helpline HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 opening times are 9am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends, 2pm – 10pm bank holidays papyrus
- ITV campaign for Britain get Talking
- MIND – Here you’ll find information on suicide and ways to approach this subject mind
- Samaritans – Additional information and guidance on suicide samaritans
Let your Light shine!
Angela Life Essence Mental Health Adviser