Category: Health and Disability

When You Feel Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed. I’ve been there too. And not in a good way like being overwhelmed by the beauty of a spring day, or overwhelmed by soaring music, or overwhelmed by love that fills your heart to bursting. It might not be a 9-1-1 emergency — no need to panic and act quickly, but how to get … Continue reading When You Feel Overwhelmed
Syndicated from April Yamasaki


Be Held and Kept in the Promises of God

In Be Held, first-time author Sue Nickel tells her own story of living with depression, weaving her personal experience together with her professional experience as a nurse and clinical counsellor, with helpful information on mental health and illness, and words of comfort and encouragement. Her purpose is to come alongside others living with depression, especially during the … Continue reading Be Held and Kept in the Promises of God
Syndicated from April Yamasaki

If We Want to Love Well, We Must Love Long

“We discovered your blog post that includes a range of prayers related to mental illness. Is there one of these that you would see as particularly appropriate for a hymnal and worship book? If not, would you be open to selecting or writing something else? Although space limits us to one short prayer on this subject, we hope that it can serve as … Continue reading If We Want to Love Well, We Must Love Long
Syndicated from April Yamasaki

God of All Comfort: A Free Mental Health Worship Resource

Some studies indicate that one in five people live with schizophrenia, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness. In a congregation of 250, that would be 50 people.

One study reports that 43% of people in the workplace have had a colleague with some form of mental illness. In a congregation of 250, that would be over 100 people.

Yet in light of this impact of mental health and mental illness, some pastors say, "we do not talk about this enough in our churches."read more God of All Comfort: A Free Mental Health Worship Resource
Syndicated from When You Work for the Church

We Have to Talk

I know you are already aware of the opioid crisis sweeping the nation. We have all heard about this crisis being met with compassion, imagination, and a sole desire to save lives. It is the right response, but it has been COMPLETELY different from the response to a drug crisis that was largely black- the crack epidemic.

America responded to the crack epidemic by declaring a “War on Drugs,” so Americans understood that addicts were dangerous enemies we should fear, vilify, and jail. Likewise, the vast majority of the funding to address the War on Drugs went toward building prisons, hiring law enforcement, and incarcerating addicts.  Crack addicts (predominately black) faced mandatory minimum prison sentences that were 100 times longer than the sentences of (predominately white) cocaine addicts. Public opinion followed suit: Much of America shamed and dehumanized the victims of the crack epidemic -- dismissing them as crackheads.

But now that the addiction epidemic has a white, suburban and rural American face, we aren’t using war language. We are responding by declaring an “Opioid Crisis.” See how even the language is different? One was an epidemic inspiring a "war", the other a crisis. When we declare a war, we have enemies to fear. When we declare a crisis, we have victims to help.

But there is more information that we are not being given, yall. " [We’ve got a] 267 percent increase in heroin overdoses in whites, but what we aren’t talking about is we’ve got over a 200 percent increase in overdoses in blacks. So this epidemic is really affecting everyone and the solutions have to affect everyone also.” Yall. Please read that sentence again. I have been duped and I am pissed. In all the talk about the opioid crisis, I have only heard of white families. I keep thinking to myself about the injustice of the response to this crisis vs the crack crisis, but here is what I know now... We are in danger of perpetuating racial injustice RIGHT NOW!

The US Surgeon helps us understand the inequity this way, "He gave the example of diversion programs, such as drug treatment courts, that give some defendants the choice of jail or treatment. He said too often, these programs make decisions about who gets in based on someone’s chance of succeeding at recovery.

For example, those with family support systems and resources such as housing are sometimes favored for treatment.

'The affluent and the non-minorities are going to be the ones that have the best chance of being successful and the minorities and the less affluent are not,' he said.

Adams challenged the audience to support programs that use their resources equitably to give everyone suffering from addiction a chance at recovery."

Though the realization that we are perpetuating inequality right now makes me angry, having this information gives us the opportunity to turn the tide, to get it right this time!

Today, we are partnering with Together Rising to participate in a Love Flashmob to give hope to those who are struggling with addiction. We are going to give to a white community who is fighting the opioid epidemic, but we are also going to give to a black community who has long been on the frontlines of responding with love and hope to addicts when society was declaring war.

Meet Hope on Harvest Hill and Martha's Place:

Hope on Harvest Hill is located in Rochester, NH. Here is how it got started: Kerry’s son had just suffered an overdose when, in 2015, a young pregnant woman who was homeless and addicted to opioids came into the prenatal center for help. With such a severe lack of resources in the community, Kerry had nowhere to send her. Kerry’s helplessness became too heavy to bear on her own- so she reached out to her community to ask for help.

Kerry got on Facebook and wrote something like: I’m brokenhearted. Anyone else? She waited. Then her friend Colene, a local doctor, responded with: Me too. I’ve been desperate to do something for two years. 

Then Colene did something extraordinary! She said: I have a home we can use. I’ll move my family into something smaller. And she did. She moved her family of four, plus two pets, out of her own home.  She made room.

Kerry gathered the other brokenhearted troops in Rochester and together they renovated the home and turned it into Hope on Haven Hill – a safe, beautiful, nurturing, highly structured home where pregnant and addicted women recover with their children and begin again.  Where addicted women can get well without fear of their kids being taken away.

But then we learned this.  In the entire state of New Hampshire, there are zero recovery-centered transitional houses where a woman can live with her baby.  None. That means women who have done the grueling work of becoming sober remain in danger without safe housing to continue their journey of recovery. So, we are going to buy these women a house! This house:

We are buying this house for Kerry and for all the women who right now are sick, pregnant, and alone. We will make it so Kerry can open that front door and say: WE HAVE ROOM FOR YOU AND YOUR PRECIOUS BABY. YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANYMORE. COME IN. THERE IS ROOM. This house will become the FIRST transitional home of its kind in New Hampshire!

But thats not all we are going to do. Because we are people who do our best to model the hope we want to see unleashed in the world, we are also going to help some women in Baltimore- the women of Martha's Place.

Meet Ms. Amelia. When Ms. Amelia and her husband started connecting with neighbors two decades ago, the people said they desperately needed a place where addicted women could come to get clean. Babies needed their moms healthy again. Ms. Amelia, who lost her own sister to addiction, gathered her broken heart, rallied volunteers who were also brokenhearted, and together they purchased and renovated an abandoned building haunted by drug dealers, and opened Martha’s Place in 2000.

Martha’s Place occupies five converted row houses as a long-term home for women recovering from addiction and starting independent lives.  Also on that corner are its sister projects: an arts program for youth and an urban farm offering employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated “returning citizens” who come back home to the community. The corner on which Martha’s Place stands was formerly a festering drug market and, because of the rehabilitation of the women and the redemption of that space, locals now refer to that corner as “Resurrection Intersection” – an oasis of hope in one of the most troubled parts of Baltimore. Ms. Amelia and her husband live on the same corner in one of the row houses with the women they have served for more than 17 years.

Ms. Amelia and the people of Martha’s Place loved these women and this neighborhood through wartime – before the compassion, outreach and funds that came in with the wave of an official “crisis.”  And they are still struggling to afford to offer these vital resources.

So today, not only are we asking for help to fund a transitional house for Hope on Haven Hill, and we are going to invest in the work of Martha's Place. We would like to fund an addictions counselor to meet regularly with the recovering women; a program director to help the women with family reintegration, job skills and placement; investment in alumni coordination so that women further along in recovery can serve as mentors, and alumni can rely on their sisters for continuous support and accountability; and critically necessary repairs to the homes so they can continue their warriors’ journey with dignity.

We can do this. We can join our broken, tireless hearts with these warriors and heal this part of the world, together. We can practice equity. We possess enough compassion, enough love to honor the human dignity of multiple communities ravaged by addiction.

Please Give. Every penny we receive from your tax-deductible donations will go directly to Hope on Haven Hill and Martha’s Place- and any extra we receive will fund homes like these throughout America. As always, we will share every detail about how the money is used in upcoming months.

You can make your tax-deductible donation by clicking here or on the GIVE NOW button below. Please give what you can—$5, $10, $15, or $25 –today, we’re bringing hope to these women and babies through all of our small gifts given with great love.  Remember that every donation matters.

This is our doorstep and we are the innkeepers.  Today we say to homeless mothers and their babies: Come, we have made room for you.  Be safe and get well.  We love you, and the world needs you.



*If you would like more information about this effort please click here or if you have questions, inquire here.
Syndicated from Blog - Austin Channing Brown

Eating locally, sharing globally

Another Way for week of September 30, 2017 Eating locally, sharing globally I feel very fortunate to be still canning green beans here in late September. We had a bumper crop of pole beans this year and now we’ve been giving them away. Here in Virginia, green beans are the staff of life. You thought […]
Syndicated from findingharmonyblog

Homo Reacticus

A few months ago, Macleans ran a piece that sent shivers of terror and guilt down the spines of parents of teenagers everywhere. It was called, “How the smartphone affected an entire generation of kids” and addressed the overwhelming connection between depression and mental health issues and the rise of the smartphone. Kids born in 1995 or later (iGens) are the first generation to grow up with (on?) smartphones and, according to Jean Twenge, professor or psychology at San Diego State University, this is having a devastating effect upon their mental health.
According to Twenge’s research, teen suicide and depression and loneliness rates have shot up by 50 percent since 2012. Since 2012! Yes, statistics are malleable and don’t tell the whole story, but this is a sobering—check that, a stunning—number. These marvelous devices that promise so much—connection, knowledge, entertainment—seem to almost literally be destroying us. They have often reduced us to the functional equivalent of lab rats hammering away on buttons to get a hit of dopamine. We are so hungry for affirmation, so desperate to be entertained, so greedy for vindication and validation, and we pour all of this desire and longing into these little devices. When we don’t get what we want, we are crushed. We can’t cope. We aren’t coping.
I say “we” very deliberately because I don’t think this is just a teen problem. Teenagers experience the negative mental health effects of smartphones most acutely because they are negotiating these issues in one of the most emotionally volatile life stages there is. But I don’t think my generation is doing a whole lot better in coming to terms with the smartphone and the endless media it spawns and delivers to our every waking moment. No matter our age or generational designation, we are all being trained into certain modes of being by the technologies that we use. Or, perhaps more accurately, by the technologies that use us.
What the article makes clear, and what I suspect many of us (parents or not) have observed, is that the digital conditions of our existence are training us in some deeply unhealthy ways. They are training us to be profoundly reactive creatures. We don’t pause, we don’t ponder, we don’t take some time to actually think about what we see or read. We react. Thumbs up. Angry face. Sad face. A little heart. We breeze through our various “feeds” (a depressingly accurate term if ever there was one, because we truly are “feeding” at the media trough). We could modify Descartes’ famous maxim to “I react therefore I am.” Homo reacticus. This is who we are.
And when we spend huge portions of our days reacting to everything from the news of the day to pictures of Thanksgiving on Instagram, I think we are subtly training our brains to become little more than organs of reaction. Does this piece of media make me angry? Sad? Happy? Confused? Do I dislike the person (or media source) that produced this? Will others think less of me if I react positively (or negatively) to this? After considering these options for a few microseconds, we dutifully click to register our response. I shudder to consider what the long-term fruit of this felt imperative to react (and to be seen reacting) might be.
I also think that affirmation and validation are increasingly becoming the default expectations we bring to the online table. They are our native tongue. We expect to be affirmed and validated. We imagine, even if only subtly, that this is what we are owed. We don’t handle criticism well and lash out when we receive it. We scramble together a few passive-aggressive tweets or snaps or status updates. We seek validation from other (friendlier) sources. We hunker down with our ideological tribe and pile self-righteous ridicule upon our enemies.
And lost in our haste to connect and react and affirm and be affirmed are a number of vital lessons that all human beings (not just teenagers!) need to learn: You’re not always right. Not everything you do is worth validating. Your feelings aren’t always the most reliable barometer for what is true or good or worth pursuing. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to not react.
I suspect that we vastly underestimate the role that social conditions (including the advent of smartphones and social media) play in who we understand ourselves to be and how we make our way in the world. We tend to essentialize so many features of our identity. We imagine that people have always been like we are now, that people have always struggled with the endless identity issues and mental health challenges that we do today. We are just developing the courage to talk honestly about these things today. This is what we tell ourselves. And there is certainly some truth to this narrative. But only some. When this becomes the explanation for everything, without remainder, I think we’ve lost something crucially important.
We must also be willing to ask ourselves difficult questions about the socio-cultural conditions we are daily creating for ourselves and for our children to develop in. In our day, this must include the media and technology that we have granted/are granting almost unfettered access into our daily lives. What habits and ways of being are being formed in us? What modes of discourse are being normalized and validated? Which understandings and presentations of identity do we reward and which do we punish (particularly online)? What kinds of humans are we training ourselves and our kids to become?

Syndicated from Rumblings

Losing Your Job is Worse than Losing Your Spouse, Says a New Study

I know that losing a job can be devastating–but worse than losing your spouse through divorce? Worse than being widowed?

I was shocked to read this recently, but since the article appeared in the Bloomberg News, known for its factual financial and business reporting, I knew it must be well supported by the research. No “fake news”!

Digging deeper, I found my confirmation. The article wasn’t supported by just one study, but by an aggregate of studies reviewed by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW), which is an independent research centre based in the U.K.

The Centre envisions:
a future where the well-being of people and communities improves every year (
To this end, the Centre works with an international network of researchers, including think tanks, businesses, non-profits, and government, to produce reports on various topics related to well-being, including workplace culture and employment. Countries include the U.K., Germany, Australia, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and others.

For their recent briefing on Unemployment, (Re-)Employment, and Well-being, the Centre reviewed over 4000 studies and included 99 in their report. Here are some of the highlights:
Losing a job causes a drop in well-being.
According to the Centre’s findings, the relationship between losing a job and a drop in well-being is no coincidence. And it’s not simply a correlation of two things happening at the same time. Extensive research and long-term studies indicate that the relationship is far stronger: losing a job actually causes a drop in well-being.
This drop in well-being is more pronounced for men than for women.
Since the Centre focuses on researching facts and gathering evidence, it offers no speculation on why research shows that job loss is harder on men than it is on women. But when I mentioned this point to a friend, he immediately identified with the statement and responded, “Well of course, because for men, our work and our identity are so closely tied together.”
Losing a job causes a drop in well-being for a spouse, especially female spouses.
The Centre defines well-being broadly as “how we’re doing”–which includes income, health, relationships, and many other factors. Just as the research shows that losing a job is particularly hard on men, the drop in well-being is particularly hard on their female spouses.
While finding new employment can increase well-being, this is not the case where the new employment is “non-standard.”
In this case, “non-standard” employment could mean someone who was formerly employed full-time getting part-time, temporary, or seasonal work. For men in this position, research in Canada indicates this had “a significant adverse impact on mental health.”
For those who experience divorce or widowhood, well-being decreases for a time and then returns to its previous level. For both men and women who experience job loss, well-being decreases and does not return to pre-unemployment levels.
In other words, losing a job is worse than losing a spouse whether through divorce or widowhood, because on average, those who are divorced or widowed recover their sense of well-being, and those who lose a job do not. A long-term study of 24,000 people living in Germany was particularly on point, with the results showing more strongly for men than for women.

Again, since the Centre focuses on gathering evidence, it offers no speculation as to why those who lose a job do not recover their previous sense of well-being. But, writes Chris Stokel-Walker:
People can move on from bereavements and divorces. The excitement of meeting someone new after a split can send the heart soaring, while people continue to struggle from unemployment, according to a 2011 meta-analysis of research carried out by academics at the Freie Universitaet Berlin.
Volunteer work and other social involvements do little to offset the damage of unemployment, but “regular religious attendance” seems to help.
While the What Works Centre for Wellbeing is not a Christian organization, I’m glad that it measured the impact of religious involvement and found some positive impact.

But I wonder, while church involvement might help someone deal with job loss, what about when the church or church agency is your employer and responsible for your job loss? That must make the sense of loss even deeper.

So if you’re struggling with job loss even years after the fact, if you still feel betrayed by your church or church agency employer and can’t seem to recover your sense of well-being, now you know why.

It’s not just you and your personal experience.

It’s backed up by solid research from an independent and international organization.

If you’re a Christian employer, to what extent do you consider the well-being of your employees in the decisions you make? If you understand well-being in the biblical sense of “shalom,” how might that inform your employment practice?

See also, How to Get Over a Painful Termination–Or Can You? and Is There a Better Way to Terminate an Employee?

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in this article come from Unemployment, (Re-)Employment, and Well-being by the What Works Centre for Welbeing. Follow the link to their briefing, or if you’re interested in reading the full academic review, contact, and they will let you know when and where it will be available.

So what do you think – is it overstating to say that
losing a job is worse than losing a spouse?
If the research is right,
what underlying cause(s) might you identify?
Please scroll down to leave a comment.
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Syndicated from When You Work for the Church

BGWG 2: The Decriminalization of Drugs

Ebony and Steve return for the second episode of Black Gal, White Guy. In this show, they discuss movements to decriminalize drug possession including new legislation in Steve’s state of Oregon. The episode includes further discussion on topics like the racial elements of the war on drugs and the need to treat addicts as somebody in need of help, not somebody to be excessively punished. Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

Season after Pentecost (Proper 8 [13]) : The Psalm Passages – Rescued from the shakes

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.” (Psalm 13:1-4)

The previous three or four days before I sat down to write this were as good of health days as I have had for a long time. But the morning of the day I sat down to write, I felt the familiar aches and pains that meant another “flare” was coming. While I try to live my live so that I am an enemy to no one, and no one would consider me any enemy, I do have an “enemy” of sorts – my own body. I have several autoimmune diseases.

An autoimmune disease means that for some reason your own body attacks itself; there are many types and kinds of autoimmune diseases. Sometime arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease; it may come with old age or it may start its “corrosive” action at an earlier age. Type 1 diabetes can be considered autoimmune; my type is type 2, but it seems in a causal relationship with my autoimmune diseases. I am part of several support groups that are composed of people who have autoimmune illnesses or who know/support people in their lives who have one or more. In any case when I have flares, which are gradual or sudden increases in symptoms, I am shaken. And it does seem like my “enemy” has prevailed. But the psalmist and I are not alone, as the support groups attest to.

“But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Verses 5 – 6)

This trust in the Lord and having been dealt with “bountifully” does not mean symptoms go away or that I feel better. “Better” is only a relatively term, and as I have learned again lately, does not last long. I am still able to keep to some sort of a regular schedule and list of accomplishments only because the sum total of my strength, stamina, and endurance does not lay only within my one body but also in the Lord. Over the years where my ability fades off and the Lord’s ability steps in to carry me through has blurred over the years such that I am not sure where one ends and the other begins. And that is why I trust the Lord and trust in the Divine’s steadfast love.

In a sense, we all have an autoimmune disease – we call it “sin” and “human willfulness.” We do things that are hurtful to our soul and spirit, and the soul and spirit of others. We “attack” harmony and the shalom that the Divine wishes for the world. And when the Lord God rescues us and all of humanity, that is the salvation that the psalmist rejoices in. I do too, for that matter.

So I am at peace; the Lord is with me, both for my health and my salvation. The enemy will not, in matters that are most important, prevail. Selah!


Addendum: Fifteen minutes after this posting appears, it will also appear on my Pondering From the Pacific blog. Since the posting touches (and more than touches) on my health, I thought it good to post it there also. I hope over time to bring the two blogs closer together in content and focus. Shalom! 

Filed under: Pondering from the Pacific, Revised Common Lectionary Year A 2017 Tagged: Autoimmune Disease, Peace, Poor health, Psalm Passage, Reign of God, Revised Common Lectionary, Right Relationships, Season After Pentecost, Shalom
Syndicated from a simple desire

True or False? "If you’ve had an easy life, don’t try to help."

“A twenty-some kid barely out of seminary shouldn’t presume to counsel a father dealing with his son’s fatal car crash.”

"A happily married woman with well-behaved kids and a successful job has no clue what it is like to have my family issues."

“Your life is perfect. You know nothing about mine.”
I’ve been on all three sides of these statements:

The Hermit: I’ve thrown mega self-pity parties, assuming that no one else could ever understand my struggle.
The Avoider: I’ve used my easy life as an excuse to not get involved in another’s problem, being terrified of not knowing what to say or do.
The Bystander: I’ve winced as a brash, arrogant friend advises instead of listens.

The idea that one with an assumed “easy life” cannot help someone with a supposedly “harder life” is deceptively close to the truth. Obviously, tough situations are not appropriate times to pretend we have all the solutions. Yet, we can’t let this concept prevent us from accepting or offering love in pain.

Here is the truth:

No one’s story is the same. No one.
There is no absolute hierarchy of grief. A rebellious child could be more painful than an illness for one person and vice versa.
We never know another’s past or inner struggles. Their life may not have been as easy as we assume.
Pain is universal. It may be cloaked in differing circumstances, but we all understand pain and can empathize to an extent.
If we only got involved in the stories that were identical to ours --well, we’d never reach out.
We cannot expect to fully heal other’s pain. We are not God.
We need each other --even if we bumble and make mistakes when trying to comfort or counsel.
We need each other because our stories are different.

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to enter a painful situation with humility, sensitivity and compassion, but first we need to be willing to enter into the pain despite our fears and inadequacies.

Syndicated from .life is a metaphor.

More on Mental Illness: Preventing Suicide

Two weeks ago I published Healthy Ministry and the Pastor with Mental Illness, which included an excerpt from Delight in Disorder and an interview with author Tony Roberts on his experience as a pastor living with bipolar disorder. In the next few weeks, I plan to share two more interviews on mental health in the workplace, and today I’m highlighting a handbook that helps to educate people on preventing suicide.

As a pastor, I don’t have the same training, skills, or calling as a counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional. So I find it important to refer people as needed, and I see my role less as direct intervention and more as walking alongside in prayer, in listening, and being a support. As a pastor, I also help to set the tone in my congregation, to raise awareness, to educate, so that as a faith community we might be aware of mental health challenges and be a supportive environment.

That’s why I read Preventing Suicide: A Handbook for Pastors, Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors by Karen Mason (InterVarsity, 2014). According to the author, pastoral caregivers can have “a vital and unique role” in suicide prevention:
They teach people to choose life. They provide guidance in how to build lives worth living. They teach how to manage suffering. They monitor and intervene when suicidal people come to them for help. They guide faith communities in how to support suicide survivors. They partner with others in their communities.
This book provides a survey of different views and theories of suicide, as well as chapters on helping someone in a suicide crisis, helping a survivor of attempted suicide, helping family, friends, and other helpers, and helping the faith community as a whole.
The prevalence of suicide
The World Health Organization has found that for every death due to war in the world, there are three deaths due to homicide and five due to suicide. (27)
Why people commit suicide
A striking characteristic of most people contemplating suicide is their ambivalence: a part of them wants to die and often another part wants to find reasons to live. (30) Suicide is never the result of a single factor or event, but rather results from a complex interaction of many factors and usually involves a history of psycho-social problems. (36)
People of faith can become depressed and contemplate death
Examples in Scripture include: Rebekah (Genesis 27:46), Rachel (Genesis 30:1), Moses (Numbers 11:11-15), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4),  Job (Job 3:20-24), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:18), Jonah (Jonah 4:8) (42).
The role of pastoral caregivers
Pastoral caregivers have unique competencies necessary in suicide prevention. They offer their primary discipline of practical theology as well as faith beliefs and behaviors that protect against suicide. Pastors, chaplains and pastoral counselors need to be prepared to be involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention because suicide already exists in the faith community. (183)
When there is a suicide in your faith community
The challenge for the pastoral caregiver is that he or she is not only managing the suicide and the ripple effects in the community but also his or her own reactions. A pastor said, “It’s a really great time to [get] the kinds of support that we all need all the time. To get a little bit more of it. And to know that you need it. And to realize that the suicide is affecting [you] and everyone’s response to the suicide is also deeply affecting [you]. . . . So you’re actually managing not just the single event but everything that comes from it. A chaplain added, “I think clergy have to go through and work out their own grief before they do a funeral because working out one’s grief during the service is not the time to do that. So I think that clergy, no matter what the death is . . . need to be able to pull away to have time to yourself, to have time with God, to talk with whoever you need to talk with to work it through yourself because every death brings back a memory of another death, or two or three. (67)
Practicing good self-care
The book offers a menu of options and encourages experimenting to find what works for you (135-137):

Finding supportive relationships.
Healthy eating and exercise.
Recreation, leisure or hobbies.
Remembering your call into your vocation.
Setting boundaries – “The focus must remain on the amount of work that we can do well, not the amount that we feel we should do, or used to be able to do, or that some of our colleagues can do.”
Regular debriefing on your own and with peers.
Managing your thoughts about your perceived failures.
Seeing a counselor.
Partnering with other professionals.

What can be done to prevent suicide
This is discussed throughout the book with a concluding summary: (175-182):

Address theological issues, including questions like What does a “good life” mean? Is a sad life equivalent to a “dead life”?
Grapple with suffering. What is a Christian response to suffering?
Engage suicide openly.
Build lives worth living, with meaningful purpose and belonging.
Develop community.
Partner with the wider community.
Be aware of seven factors that protect against suicide:

Support by family, friends and significant others.
The presence of an intimate partner.
Church attendance.
Religious coping practices–including prayer, worshiping God, meditation, reading Scriptures and meeting with a spiritual leader.
Coping strategies focused on solving and managing a problem and regulating one’s emotional responses.
Having reasons for living.
Healthy self-esteem.

This book is well researched, clear, and encouraging, with discussion questions and recommended resources. I’m sure that I will return to it again and again for future reference.
Your turn:
The book includes discussion questions including these (173):
Why is suicide so stigmatized? What could you do to help destigmatize it?
Your comments are welcome below.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Preventing Suicide from InterVarsity Press. The choice to review and the views expressed are my own. 
Next Up in two weeks: More for Mental Health Awareness Month. If you’d like me to send future articles directly to your email inbox, please sign up for my free updates.

Syndicated from When You Work for the Church

If You’re Thinking About Suicide, Please Try These 5 Things First.

5. At least become willing to delay your plan. If you’ve gone far enough in your process that you’ve actually developed a general or specific plan or intent to follow through on suicide, try to become willing temporarily delay acting on it– even if it’s just an internal commitment to not do it over the [Read More...]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey


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