As we enter the fall of the year, it is an opportunity to reflect on how blessed we have been to face, manage, and conquer challenging circumstances of an era shadowed by COVID-19. As important as it is for us to focus on physical health and strength, it is also important for us to focus on our mental health and mental strength. God wants both our bodies and our minds to prosper (3 John 1:2). Mental health can be a delicate area for some cultures to address. We have resources to access at home, communities, workplaces, online, via phone/text, and even apps that provide support for mental health needs.
Mental health can sometimes be stigmatized due to the difficulty of being seen as a traditional illness. A physical health condition is often more accepted as a normal sickness, while others may even see emotional and mental health issues as abnormal or strange. In the past, those with mental/emotional health challenges were addressed as “crazy” and other derogatory terms. This made it less likely that a person would seek out support for a problem of this nature and is still viewed as a sensitive topic for many people in 2020.
The era of COVID-19 has increased isolation, decreased interactions, and added restrictions to the limited interactions that some of us have with others. We are now less likely to touch, embrace, venture out in public, attend gatherings, or get close to others. Interactions have been shadowed with masks and hand sanitizing while disinfecting surfaces and the physical environment around us. These things and more have taken a toll on people’s mental health and led to a rise in some conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, suicide, hopelessness, and an increase in substance use. These symptoms have affected work/school attendance, even general personal dependability, and the acceptance of the responsibility for one’s actions.
Now is a good time for us to get involved in mental health reform, support, and advocacy. The positive mental health of a person can produce so many great things in a person’s life. A positive outlook, well-balanced life, and being future-focused impacts the individual person and everyone else that person encounters. When people are emotionally/mentally healthy, they make better decisions, live healthier lives, and generally infect others around them with this same happiness and positive outlook.
It is the right time for us to take a closer look at mental health and support those who struggle in this area by listening, encouraging counseling, providing outreach, and opening mental health-based businesses and initiatives that will impact people in our community and all over the world. It’s a good time to make a difference in someone’s life by offering the support they need and identifying needs and resources for a sound mind and heart. “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).
Contributor: E. Taylor