Alka's Angle March 12, 2021

Dear Broadway Family,

Mental Health and the ‘power of our stories’ was the focus for this week in our Lenten series, and based on the parable for this week, we pondered the question: ‘how could we open our eyes to things or persons around us that may need our support?’ We realize that often times we become too focused in our own little world that we fail to see those around us who might be needing our help. We are generally slow to ask for help, and slower when the need is around mental health, even though it has become a huge concern in this season of COVID. I shared last Sunday the statistics, according to Kaiser Family Foundation that:

  • about 4 in 10 adults, in USA, have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder;
  • 11% of adults reported thoughts of suicide within a span of 30 days;
  • 56% of young adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder;
  • Deaths from drug overdose is also on a rise.  

Mental health care is as important a health concern today as it has ever been. Folk are tired and stressed. Our neighborhood recently lost a police officer to suicide, but this was not the first death among police officers in Chicago. And this is not the only incidence.

It is important for us to stay connected with one another and share with a trusted person or seek professional help. The National Institute of Mental Health Helpline is at 833-626-4244. Save this number in a place so it is readily available to share whenever needed.

And the CDC suggests the following ways to cope with stress:

  • Take breaks -- especially when watching news,
  • Take care of your body
  • Make time to unwind,
  • Connect with others, and
  • Connect with your community/ faith-based organization.

Beloveds, take very good care of you and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Find time to check in with each other, and if you feel comfortable, share your story of coping, so others may feel safe in seeking the help they need.

Also -- don’t forget to take some time to look at the reflection pages for this week. And, together, let us continue on this journey towards health and wholeness. Let us claim our identity as a beloved child of God, and let us remember to do all we can to make this world a better place for all who live in it.  And remember, I am always your partner in this work of justice!