When you think of mental health, you may think of stories of tragedies caused by violent perpetrators of crimes or of tragic suicides. Mental “health” or in fact, mental illness, is much more than that. It is a very common medical illness of the brain.
Yes, brains can get sick, too. Just as heart disease is sickness of the heart, major depression and other common mental illnesses is a sickness of the brain. I say common because experts agree that one in five people will experience mental health problems during their lives. Stress, both good and bad stress, typically triggers mental health episodes. I say episodes because during periods between these episodes a person may be completely free from symptoms.
My personal prayer is that some day all school children will learn and accept the common facts and symptoms of mental health problems. Then our youth and future generations will, without shame or stigma, be willing and able to seek help from professionals and their brains will get well.
Community United Methodist Church has a mission statement which calls on us to serve others and embrace a commitment to the community. We are blessed that God has brought a spiritual mental health support group to our church. Unlike secular support groups, we rely on prayer to assist group members – opening with prayer and closing with prayer. We rely on God’s presence to guide our meetings.
Matthew’s Hands is the group name because Matthew means “gift of God.” Just a Matthew gave information and answered questions, we pray that members of this group will share their stories, concerns, and solutions. We pray the group will encourage and empathize with fellow members, offering strength in learning we are not alone.
Matthew’s Hands meets every second and fourth Monday in the CUMC library, 309 College Avenue, Fruitland Park, Florida. We serve those with mental health problems as well as those with family members with mental health concerns. Matthew’s Hands is free and confidential.
Please pray for this ministry and that those who would benefit from this ministry will have the courage to attend. Let your friends and family know that we are open to the community and are here to help. We are not alone in mental health struggles. God is with us.