It’s “Let’s Talk” day in Canada.  It’s the third year in a row that Canadians in various places, organizations, situations, and locations have taken time to talk about “mental health”.  Telecommunications giant Bell Media has thrown its corporate support behind the endeavour promising to make a donation to mental health awareness from every phone call, text, tweet and facebook entry made on their network.   It’s only 5 cents per incident but my spider senses say  it could be a significant amount by the end of the day.

“Let’s talk”.  Let’s you and I talk about mental health.

mental health social worker

The data is overwhelming.  You can visit numerous websites and get the stats.  Experts suggest 1 in 5 of us is suffering from a diagnosable, life affecting mental health issue at some point in life.  Mental health diagnoses have increased 400% in the last 30 years.  (Better diagnostic work?  Greater incidents of mental health issues?  Something else going on?)  One denominational church group I work with hit an all time high a few years ago when 19% of their credentialed pastors were on “stress leave” due to mental health issues.

Stats are for statisticians.  Stories are for readers.

My life journey is full of stories of  mental health sufferers.  It’s hit my family  multiple times with multiple family members.   I’ve spent time with loved ones in doctor’s offices, hospital wards, counseling groups, and long seasons of recovery.  It’s part of our journey as a family.

It’s not a senior’s issue–only.  It’s not a teenager issue–only.  It’s not a women’s issue–only.  It’s not a drug addict’s issue –only.  It’s a people issue that is a lot closer than many of us care to admit.

So, to the mental health worker today?  “Thank you”.   Thank you for caring enough about people to help them through their darkness, and craziness, and seriousness of issues.

To the mental health sufferer today?  “Hang in there”.  Help is there, it’s not perfect, and it’s not instantaneous, but it’s help.  Ride the ride.  Don’t give up.

To the loved ones of mental health sufferers today?  “Your loved one is ill.”  What they do and say is incredibly serious, but it’s their illness affecting them more than anything else.  You’ll need to learn and then practice good mental health behaviors yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Thank you for loving your spouse, your child, your parent, your family member, your coworker.  Love is more powerful than anything else.

My hope as a Christian minister is that what I do and am involved with will bring hope and healing to the ailing.  Mental health is included in that broad sweep.

Blessings, and prayers for all.

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