First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Thursday, April 24, 2014

October - Mental Health Awareness

“O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.  Save me, for you do what is right.”  Psalm 31:1 NLT
Mental health is something we tend to take for granted until there is a problem.  At that time we wonder where to turn for help.  In addition, stigmas are often attached to mental health issues which make us reluctant to seek help and we pretend that everything is just fine.

Mental illnesses can affect people of any age, race, religion or economic status and are one of the leading causes of disability in the world.  Without treatment, they can result in unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, or suicide.  Some of the many conditions considered mental illness are:
•    ADHD
•    Anxiety Disorder
•    Bipolar Personality
•    Dementia
•    Depression    
•    Eating Disorders
•    Learning Disabilities
•    Obsessive/Compulsive Behaviors
•    Panic Disorders    
•    Phobias
•    Post-traumatic Stress
•    Schizophrenia
•    Substance Abuse
•    Suicide

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses.  Symptoms of clinical depression include: persistent feelings of “emptiness,” sleep disturbances, inability to concentrate, memory problems, changes in appetite, loss of pleasure or interest in things that were once enjoyable, irritability, loss of energy, and feelings of hopelessness.  Depression can be experienced because of a chemical imbalance, environmental factors, or stress.

In Ecclesiastes we read, “’Meaningless!’ says the Teacher.  ‘Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.’”  These words describe how most depressed people feel.  In a subsequent chapter it says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  We can’t separate our physical, mental, and spiritual health.  Only when we seek wholeness through our Creator do we find true joy.  Joy or wholeness can only be found at the foot of the cross and the empty tomb.  Seek medical help but don’t forget to seek spiritual help too.