May 13, 2018

Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States led by Mental Health America and its affiliates. Mental health is something that everyone should care about and be aware of. In 2018, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is promoting the theme “CureStigma”. According to NAMI, stigma is toxic to a person’s mental health “because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment”. What is the antidote for stigma? The good news is that stigma is 100% curable through compassion, empathy and understanding.

It is important to know the facts about mental health and share that information with others. Some of the facts to be aware of are as follows. One in five adults in the U.S. or about 43.8 million people, experiences a mental illness in a given year. Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide. According to NAMI, 18.1% of American adults live with anxiety disorders; 6.9% of American adults live with major depression; 2.6% of American adults live with bipolar disorder and 1 in 100 American adults live with schizophrenia. (Source: statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health)

Mental health challenges affect a person’s biological, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of health. Because of stigma and other reasons, it may be difficult for a person to talk to others about their concerns or reach out for help. Faith communities provide a welcoming and supportive community for all. It is important for faith communities to be a place of non-judgmental love for its members experiencing mental illness and for those who have a family member with mental illness. Faith communities can be of assistance in the recovery process through education and support and by helping individuals and families feel part of a caring community.

Our Lady of Mercy faith community is a healing community, being intentional about supporting people with mental health challenges and their families. The Mental Health Ministry of our parish is working to increase awareness of mental health and decrease stigma as well as being a ministry of support and resources. Let’s join NAMI and work to ensure that no one is alone on their mental health journey. If you are interested in learning more about the ministry, please contact Jolene LeRoy RN Parish Nurse and Director of Pastoral Care at 630-851-3444, extension 403 or at

Join a Conversation about Mental Health Awareness

Please join me in a conversation about emotional health and wellness on Saturday May 19th from 10:00am to 11:30am in the Parish Life Center multi-purpose room. We will discuss how our faith community can provide support and resources for anyone with emotional and mental health concerns. May 15th is the feast day of St. Dymphna, the patron saint of mental and emotional illnesses. We will learn about St. Dymphna and pray together. Information on suicide awareness and prevention will be provided for children, adolescents and adults. Registration is not required but would be helpful in preparing refreshments and handouts. If you have any questions or would like to register, please contact Jolene LeRoy RN at 630-851-3444, extension 403.

Walking with Mary

Let’s continue to get together to pray and be active during May for the Month of Mary and Move in May for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month on Saturday May 19th and 26th at 9:00am in the Parish Life Center multipurpose room. We will pray the rosary together while walking to grow closer to Jesus through Mary and improve our physical and mental health. No registration required. All are welcome!! See you there!!

Blood Pressure Screenings

May 19 & 20 after masses in the Ministry Room
No screenings on Memorial Weekend