In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week and this year October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The goal then and now is to end the stigma associated with Mental health challenges and to “ensure better understanding and provide access to diagnosis and treatment.”
People with mental problems are our neighbors. They are members of our congregations, members of our families; they are everywhere in this country. If we ignore their cries for help, we will be continuing to participate in the anguish from which those cries for help come. A problem of this magnitude will not go away. Because it will not go away, and because of our spiritual commitments, we are compelled to take action.
“Nothing about us without us!”
As Trinity English continues to expand worship and engagement opportunities, we are having conversations that encourage people from our community to share their thoughts and feelings about what defines a safe and welcoming space for them. A person with autism, might define that differently than one who is not identified as being on the spectrum. A teen struggling with thoughts of suicide might want to withdraw from church and become isolated. A veteran with PTSD might wrestle with painful memories and fear. Perhaps acknowledging who is around us and who is missing are equally important. For many of us, bright spaces and singing hymns, sitting still for a sermon, having silent time for prayer, sharing the peace, and being in a large crowded sanctuary make us anxious or worse. Perhaps we can take the first step in being a welcoming community by being tolerant of those who find some of these practices to be uncomfortable. One way to affirm another’s presence is to simply smile.
Please help us to actively listen and respond to the one in four among us who struggle with challenges of mental well-being and brain disorders. If you, or someone you love is experiencing distress, Trinity English’s pastors, staff and volunteers want to walk with you on your journey, not as mental health professionals, but as companions on journeys toward wholeness and healing.
“If we are willing to embrace the challenge of becoming whole, we can’t do it alone. At least not for long. We need trustworthy relationships to sustain us in the journey toward an undivided life. Rejoining soul and role requires community- a circle of trust.”
JaneT JoRdan Altmeyer
Building a foundation of supportive relationships in The City of Churches, moving forward as a community bolstered by faith, driven by purpose, inspired by Christ's love.