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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mental Health Awareness Week

Right now we are in the midst of the National Mental Health Awareness Week.

If I close my eyes momentarily and envision the many many people I know who unwantingly face the rigors of mental health fluctuations in their lives, I am overcome by their courage and fortitude. Their lives are hard to live. At a funeral I attended yesterday, the speaker said, "Life is good until it isn't." Perhaps a simple statement, but it describes so well the experience of a person encountering the unpredictable winds and waves of what you might call "mind storms". It is like the weather patterns that all are so familiar with. Even the experienced weatherperson can't seem to predict the ebb and flow of sun and cloud or precipitation or temperatures. The severity of storms are beyond knowing, until they shake and pound and cause you to run for cover. The person with mental health storms likewise, are pummeled by the unpredictable trauma of inner torment or anxiety or depression or fear or sounds and sights and grief and despair that overwhelm the circuitry of their operational control panel. Naturally occurring chemical imbalances temporarily stabilized by medications hold back the tides until their bodily chemistry like our immune systems evolve to reduce the benefit of their treatment. The quest to start again with new dosages or new medications interact differently with each patient, some good, some bad. In the meantime those dear folk try to live and function with their lives in turmoil and upheaval in expected normalcy. Most of us barely function with a cold or flu that hits us with short term symptoms for a few days once in a while. The contagious nature of these known ailments are cause or us to take time off from work with the sympathy and thankfulness of our fellow staff. Those with emerging mental health storms that outwardly are pretty much invisible to others are at a disadvantage in being understood by their peers and colleagues. They simply are misunderstood. They are marginalized because society as a whole is far from empathetic; operating on efficiency, productivity and expectations of normalcy.

Some are unable to function within society. Yesterday, I was touring a new Board member through the church owned Bill McMurray residence in Toronto. We house and provide compassionate care for 84 residents, all marginalized members of society. A very high % of these individuals are encountering mental health trauma in their lives which has impacted them for decades with untold losses. How proud I am of this program reflecting Mission at its best, in the unending 24/7 care provided to these dear folks. Mission is not easy. There are many challenges and hurdles in managing a residence of care for those marginalized in society. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with this program at Bill McMurray which falls under the umbrella of our non-profit Sionito Corporation which has 3 other buildings in Toronto and London all managed by church volunteer Boards. Our website is 

Compassion, empathy, love and acceptance of different ways of life expressions in people we meet, live and work with is what we need to build awareness of this week. We all live in the bounties of grace whether we acknowledge its presence in our lives or not. Relating to others as we want to experience acceptance, love and understanding is the golden rule of compassion. Let us remember the imagery of storms as the unpredictable reality of mental heath fluctuations. May we become one measure of peaceful  loving stability in the lives of those who encounter these extended unknown periods of breakdown in the circuitry of their lives.

submitted by Kerry

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, Kerry. Thank you. It is also true that most Christians frequently do not know how to deal with people who are experiencing mental health issues, and therefore frequently prefer to simply avoid. This further marginalizes people who may really need someone to be a friend.


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