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 jolenel@olmercy.com.

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

National Nutrition Month

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Health and Wellness Table on
Hospitality Weekend with a focus on National Nutrition Month®. There was a variety of information available to promote eating fruits and vegetables and to be aware of the sugar content in the beverages that we drink. There were samples of a green smoothie and avocado-lemon hummus to taste with carrots. Many wanted the green smoothie recipe to make at home.

The recipe is from www.simplegreensmoothies.com and it is called the
Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie. It is full of iron, potassium and vitamins. It is recommended to use organic spinach and fruits. Ingredients:
one cup of fresh spinach; one cup of water; one half cup of frozen mango; one half cup of frozen pineapple and one peeled banana. Tightly pack spinach into a measuring cup. Add spinach to blender with water. Blend together until are chunks are gone. Add pineapple, mango and banana to the blender. Blend together until smooth and creamy – thirty seconds to two minutes depending on the type of blender. Serve immediately. The smoothie can be stored in a container with a tight lid up to two days in the refrigerator. This makes one to two servings. Enjoy!!

Our seminarian, Senovio Sarabia drinks a green smoothie every morning and encourages others to do so. He feels that the smoothie gives him energy and helps him to be clearheaded and calm. By blending the fruits and vegetables, they are “predigested” so that the body does not have to work to break down the foods and waste unnecessary energy in digestion. The smoothie provides powerful antioxidants, vitamins and fiber which helps keep you feeling fuller throughout the morning into lunch. The recipe for the Glowing Green Smoothie® by Kimberly Snyder at kimberlysnyder.com is as follows. It is suggested to use organic fruits and vegetables and a blender with a motor that can handle the blending of the following ingredients: one to two cups of cold water (depends on your preference of thickness); one head of romaine lettuce (about six cups, chopped); one half head of spinach (about seven cups, chopped); a juice of half a lemon (about two tablespoons); three to four stalks of celery; one pear (cored); one apple (cored); and one ripe banana. Fill the blender with water, blend spinach and romaine until smooth. Add celery, apple and pear – blend until smooth. Add lemon juice and banana and blend. Pour and drink! This recipe makes a big batch that can be kept in the refrigerator in a container with a tight lid for up to two and a half days or it can be frozen and thawed out in the refrigerator.

These recipes can be modified to what fruits and vegetables that you prefer. Be sure to check with your physician to see if the dark leafy greens will interfere with medications that you are taking such as anticoagulants. Be aware that the increased intake of fiber may have an effect on the gastrointestinal system. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Jolene LeRoy RN.

Life’s Simple 7

The American Heart Association encourages everyone to make little changes every day that will add up to big improvements in overall health. Number 1 is to Get Active. The goal is to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of both. Number 2 is to Eat Better. Try to limit sugary foods and drinks, processed foods and salt. Eat a colorful diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat products, poultry, fish and nuts. Number 3 is to Lose Weight. A healthy weight is important for good health. Number 4 is Control Cholesterol. It is important to know cholesterol levels and ways to decrease as high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Number 5 is Manage Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When was the last time that you had your blood pressure taken? The ideal pressure is below 120/80. Number 6 is Reduce Blood Sugar. Blood glucose is an important fuel for the body but too much sugar may contribute to chronic diseases. Number 7 is Stop Smoking. Smoking damages the circulatory system and increases the risk of multiple diseases.

If you would like personal health counseling or have any questions about Life’s Simple 7, please contact Jolene LeRoy RN Parish Nurse at jolenel@olmercy.com.

Faith and Good Health Go Together

Over the past twenty years, dozens of studies show that prayer, faith and belief in God has a positive effect on physical, spiritual and emotional health. Dr. Harold C. Koenig is the Director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and is considered among the country’s leading authorities on faith and healing. According to Dr. Koenig, it was reported in 2015 that an analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicate people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health”.

If you are wondering what kind of impact faith may have on physical health, Koenig, the senior author of the “Handbook of Religion and Health”, says that involvement in a faith community, enables people to better cope with stress, experience greater well-being “because they have more hope,” and have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure and “probably better cardiovascular functioning.” Dr. Koenig reports that nearly 1,200 studies done on the effects of prayer on health show that religious people are motivated to live healthier lives.

It is interesting to note how being involved in and attending religious services on a routine basis offers a trusted support system providing a connection to social interaction and bonding. Clay Routledge, social psychologist and professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, writes that recent studies found that praying together promotes feelings of unity and trust. It seems that social prayer may be a factor in bringing people closer together.

The intent of this article is to show that prayer and faith have a positive impact on one’s total health – mind, body and spirit – and to emphasize that our parish provides and supports ministries that promotes whole person health.

Walking to Jerusalem

The bulletin deadline was written before the miles were reported for Week Five so were not ready to be in the bulletin. Participants who provided an email address will receive an email with the progress of the walk. Please save the date for The Walking to Jerusalem Celebration which will take place on Saturday morning, April 7 with refreshments, prizes and prayer – more details to follow. Blessings to you during Holy Week as we complete the miles to Jerusalem and back.

May we become closer to Jesus and improve our physical and nutritional health!!!

Preparing & Letting Go

Preparing for Holy Week

As we enter into Holy Week with the beginning of Palm Sunday, it is a time to reflect on how much Jesus loves us. No matter how busy or “distracted” we might be this week, keep the focus of Holy Week in the forefront of our daily prayers and reflections. As we feel the presence of Jesus in our life, we know that we are not alone whether we are experiencing struggles or triumphs, sorrows or joys.

During Holy Week, the following suggestions are offered to prepare for Easter. Read the four gospels on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Attend the services of Holy Week – the Triduum or three days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter vigil. Focus on a mini-Lenten observance such as an act of sacrifice or devotion from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Consider eating less or more simply this week to help focus the mind and spirit on Jesus and his suffering and death. Unplug for the week if it is getting in the way of focusing on the meaning of Holy Week and your participation in spiritually preparing for Easter. Consider turning off or limiting watching television, using the computer and cell phone and social media use.

These ideas are meant to be a source of blessings during Holy Week, not a burden. Each of us knows the best way to focus on the meaning of Holy Week, feel God’s love and presence in our lives and celebrate the joy of Easter at Mass. We are invited to walk with Christ this Holy Week. Easter is not just a day – it is a season of remembering and entering into the passion and resurrection of Jesus.

Letting Go of Worries

Life is full of worries. We may worry about our jobs, studies, finances, health and safety and relationships. We worry about the past, present and future. The concern is that worrying make take control of our thoughts and negatively affect our physical, emotional and relational well-being. Take a moment and think about three things that you may be worrying about at this point in your life and how it is affecting your physical, emotional and relational well-being. When worry gets to the point of interfering with the normal activities of daily life, it may be a time to seek professional counseling.

There are a variety of ways to deal with and let go of worry. Prayer helps to displace worry and be in relationship with God. Praying with the psalms or other scripture may help to lessen worries. Philippians 4:7 reminds us “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Live in the present moment and be affirmed with positive self-talk. If a given situation causes worry, assess the problem and ask yourself what you can do about it and prepare a plan of action with prayer and trust in God. Listening to music with deep breathing may be soothing and uplifting in time of worry and stress. Journaling and regular exercise are other strategies to help lessen worry.

When worry begins to take over, it may help to think of easy-to-remember phrases or actions to call to mind. This may help to redirect your thought process so that you do not listen to the worries. The words of St. Francis de Sales may provide comfort in dealing with worry and stress: “Do not worry about what might happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it”.

(Source: Why Do I Worry? by Br. Francis Wagner, O.S.B.)

If you have pastoral care concerns or health needs, please contact Jolene LeRoy RN Director of Pastoral Care at 331-707-5380 or at jolenel@olmercy.com.