1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness, 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness, and 17% of youth experience a mental health disorder (CDC and NIMH). Parishes can address—and help to carry—the heavy cross of psychological disorders which exist in every community. The Second Vatican Council states, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (Gaudium Et Spes). The burden of mental illness is a relevant concern for every Christian.
Call to action:
How can your parish address the burden of mental illness this month? Does your parish reach out to people who are incarcerated or in detention centers? Do you address mental health concerns in the petitions at Mass? If you had to make a referral to a mental health specialist, could you? Do you have a parish mental health support group?
The stigma of psychological disabilities often inhibits acceptance and treatment. Parishioners might not vocalize—or even know—that they have a mental illness. Raise awareness by hosting a speaker or planning a prayer service. If you need support or have questions about virtual mental health ministry, contact the NCPD Council on Mental Illness at NCPD@ncpd.org.