Mental Illness

~The Hospital -Church: Needs Help With Anxiety and Depression~

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Anxiety can cause people to give up on many of their beliefs. It can cause people to feel like nothing is holding them up, and nothing is going right for them. It can cause them to question religion, give up on spiritual practices, and more.

So can spiritual growth improve anxiety? We take a look at this idea from a more objective, non-religious perspective, to see whether spiritual growth can provide the necessary relief.

But if we’re looking directly at spirituality and spiritual growth, the answer is yes – but with some caveats.

How Spiritual Growth Can Help

One of the things to understand when we’re talking about spirituality is that most spirituality involves a contentment with yourself. It’s hard to pray to God, or feel spiritual when that belief isn’t there, and unfortunately anxiety is the type of issue that can make people feel as though there is nothing and no one looking out for them. It can make it harder to take control of one’s life.

So in that respect, obtaining spiritual growth can be difficult, and even if you want to put all of your faith in God you still do need to learn to love yourself. Even in the Bible it states that God has lent your body to you, and while you’re meant to put all of your faith in God, you are doing a disservice to God by disliking yourself.

But if you can adapt your mindset to one that is more spiritual and gets in touch with your beliefs better, then there are absolutely several benefits to spiritual growth. These include:

  • Faith in the Future – Perhaps the greatest problem for those with anxiety is the lack of seeing the future as a positive. Unfortunately this is caused by anxiety – much like being sick, it changes your thought patterns to make you feel like anxiety is still to come. But spirituality is about having faith in the world around you, and that faith can reduce some of the negativity you may feel for your future.
  • Healthy Living – Spirituality also tends to be a form of healthier living. Those that are more spiritual often find that they are more prone to taking care of themselves, maintaining healthier habits, spending time with other people, and so on. Healthy living is very important for controlling anxiety, and something that those with anxiety often struggle to do.
  • Healthy Distraction – The activities you do for spiritual growth also provide a very healthy distraction for overcoming anxiety. Actively attacking your stress isn’t always the most successful strategy. Sometimes the brain heals better when you simply don’t have time to pay attention to anxiety. Spiritual activities tend to be fairly consuming, which means that your mind is distracted from your worries and focused on something positive.

Spiritual growth also tends to involve strategies that slow your life down, the ability to talk to others and spend time with others, and the rebuilding of trust. It may even give you someone or something to pray to or for that you can believe that better things are coming. Not having a healthy environment in God’s House is very toxic and can cause severe anxiety with lay people and leadership:

Problems With Spiritual Growth

There is no downside to growing spiritually. It’s something that can benefit men and women of all ages. However, there are a few notes of caution:

  • Don’t ignore yourself. Remember, you’re still here. Whether you believe strongly in God or you believe that the universe makes things happen, every religion and every belief agrees that you need to take care of yourself, take action, and make changes. If all you change is your spirituality than you are neither doing God’s will nor improving your life for yourself.
  • Don’t wait for things to come. Even as you become more spiritual, there is no deity that simply answers prayers without work. You do need to make sure that you’re focused on improving yourself and your own life, because only by actively making changes can you expect to see results.
  • Don’t give up when you find relief thinking you’re done. God may answer your prayers and respond to your beliefs, but much like religion you cannot simply believe when it’s convenient. Even if you find your anxiety has gone away, don’t forget to keep making the necessary changes to keep anxiety away.

As long as you keep these in mind, getting better in touch with your spirituality can only be a good thing for your mental health. There is little downside as long as you don’t assume that all you need to do is pray and wait. Not even God approves of that type of lifestyle.

This Is A Cause That Needs Developing Also

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Thousands of British servicemen and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are abusing alcohol to block out the horrors of war.

An authoritative study has found that as many as 33,000 members of the Armed Forces – around one in five – are drinking harmful levels of alcohol.

Troops who are deployed in direct combat on the battlefield had a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with seven per cent reporting problems compared with four per cent among all regulars.


Study found as many as 33,000 former soldiers had drunk harmful amounts    

Violence among service personnel remains a ‘concern’

Troops deployed into direct combat have high risk of getting PTSD

article-0-13F167B0000005DC-777_634x454Violence among service personnel remains a ‘concern’ with one in seven attacking someone in an explosive rage after returning from the frontline – often wives or partners.

And the report found reservists were more likely to experience mental health problems after coming home from a warzone.

 Violence among service personnel remains a ‘concern’ with one in seven attacking someone in an explosive rage after returning from the frontline – often wives or partners.

And the report found reservists were more likely to experience mental health problems after coming home from a warzone.

‘It remains to be seen what the longer-term psychological impact of serving in Iraq or Afghanistan will be, and what social and healthcare services might be required for this small but important group of veterans who are at highest risk of mental health problems.’

Forces charities say they are bracing themselves for a ‘tidal wave’ of veterans with psychological problems because of the numbers being deployed to warzones.

Some veterans struggle for years with crippling symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, depression and anxiety attacks. Many fall into chronic alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness and crime.

Peter Poole, deputy chief executive of Combat Stress, said: ‘We are encouraged by measures put in place by the UK Armed Forces to support serving personnel are having results. Nevertheless, the rate of those suffering from PTSD is worrying.

‘With the increase in demand for services every year we know we will see the legacy of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan for years to come. It is vital that we are able to deliver effective support to these brave men and women so they can return to fulfilling lives.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Government had committed £7.4million to improve mental health for service personnel.

She said: ‘We are not complacent. We want to further reduce the stigma of mental illness and continue to better services.’




80 percent of the mentally ill live in low or middle-income nations. So why aren’t we doing anything about them?

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The sun is scorching hot, and the two leafless trees provide little refuge in the way of shade. The village dwellers barely notice. Especially one young boy, probably 8 years old.

His face lacks the youthful exuberance you would expect and is replaced with grave concern, sewn deep into the fabric of his soul. Diagnosis: Hatred from the gods. At least that’s what he’s been told since he started acting strangely a few years ago. What else could cause the paranoia and compulsions he’s tried so hard to hide?

In reality, the small African child is victim of a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. But how would anyone in his small village possess that knowledge? Only in the last few generations have wealthy nations with available research monies begun to form an understanding of the inner workings of the mind and its applicable abnormalities.

Prior to this new understanding, those suffering from mental illnesses were largely treated as criminals, often grouped together in the same cells and shackles, beaten and left unclothed. Dorothea Dix, well-known reformer in the 1840s, reported this type of activity—in Massachusetts. Her eyewitness report went as far as to include the story of one patient, kept in a “close stall” for 17 years. Sadly, this activity carried on for several generations.

In the late 1800s, New York World reporter Nellie Bly went undercover as a mental health patient in New York’s infamous Blackwell Island Insane Asylum. The resulting work, Ten Days in a Mad-House, went “viral” and helped to reform the inexcusable injustices in government-run mental health facilities.

Bly called the asylum on Blackwell Island “a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out.” Bly personally experienced ice-baths and forced isolation. She also described the choking and beatings that other inmates experienced. Possibly the most damning conviction was the fact that foreign women, incapable of communicating in effective English terms, were hauled off to Blackwell—in spite of being perfectly sane.

Thankfully, there are no “Blackwell’s” in today’s United States, even though injustices still exist; see Juliann Garey’s recent article in The New York Times. But as a whole, the research dedicated to mental health and the services available are worlds apart from the early 1900s.

If the West is just advancing from mental health’s Dark Ages, then most developing nations are still firmly planted in its Ice Age.
Unfortunately, these great strides haven’t made the leap over poorer nations’ borders. Not even close. If the West is just advancing from mental health’s Dark Ages, then most developing nations are still firmly planted in its Ice Age.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80 percent of people suffering from mental disorders live in low- or middle-income nations. The vast majority of this group has no access to mental health care. Furthermore, though mental illnesses account for approximately 13 percent of the Global Burden of Disease, they are beneficiaries of only 2 percent of world health expenditure.

Take Ghana for example, 2.2 million of the 22 million-member population suffer from mental illnesses or epilepsy. Far too many patients for the 12 active psychiatrists and three public psychiatric hospitals in the country.

Chris Underhill, founder of Basic Needs, a mental health advocacy pioneer, became painfully aware of the crisis when traveling overseas several years ago. “(I)n rural areas of Africa and Asia, it is common to chain people in shackles and put them in cages to ensure their control. It was therefore clear to me that mental health is a hugely neglected area,” he wrote in an article on Cases like this are the reason the WHO has declared mental health “a global human rights emergency.”

In an era completely invested in social justice and charitable campaigns, most of us are unaware that a need of this magnitude even exists. How do we account for such a discrepancy? And it’s not solely on a personal level. The mental health community at-large seems to lack a real plan to tackle the growing issue.

If any organization should champion the cause of those in mental darkness, it’s the Church.
In his 2010 article titled, “Mental illness and the developing world,” author Andrew Chambers argues that the overwhelming need for funds and organizations devoted to mental health may be due to a lack of empathy. Compared to more “visible” diseases (i.e. AIDS, malaria, etc.). “It is much more difficult to generate that empathy: there are no externally apparent symptoms to create a good snapshot image, and indeed it is very difficult to understand what living with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder would actually be like,” he writes.

Despite the difficulty in assessing these needs, we can rely on our own nation’s dark past and the testimonies of friends and family who suffer from similar disorders to foster the compassion we need to take action. This starts with addressing mental illness as actual illness. Failure to understand and empathize with those suffering within our own borders will certainly keep us from seeing the bigger picture, and prevent us from donating our time and money to those who desperately need it and unknowingly beg for it.

If any organization should champion the cause of those in mental darkness, it’s the Church. Dorothea Dix proclaimed this in her 1843 Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts: “Could we in fancy place ourselves in the situation of some of these poor wretches, bereft of reason, deserted of friends, hopeless; troubles without, and more dreary troubles within, overwhelming the wreck of the mind as ‘a wide breaking in of the waters,’—how should we, as the terrible illusion was cast off, not only offer the thank-offering of prayer, that so mighty a destruction had not overwhelmed our mental nature, but as an offering more acceptable devote ourselves to alleviate that state from which we are so mercifully spared…”

This “devoting of ourselves” as the Church should be through prayer, through action and maybe even through financial means. Organizations such as Basic Needs, who are devoted solely to issues of mental illness abroad, are perfect places to start.

Maybe then, if we start to do our job, the young boy can breathe a sigh of relief.