Our Mental Health Matters

Our Mental Health Matters

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Our mental health matters.

This week’s links:

MHA – Things you can say when you are not “fine”
https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/MHM/2024/toolkit/Youre-not-fine-fact-sheet.pdf

MHA – What to say when someone tells you they’re fine, but they’re not
https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/MHM/2024/toolkit/Theyre-not-fine-fact-sheet.pdf

National Council for Mental Wellbeing – Mental Health Awareness Month
https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/mental-health-awareness-month/

DuPage County Health Department – 24/7 Urgent Crisis Resources
https://www.dupagehealth.org/703/Mental-Health-Resources

NIH – Get Help for Mental Illness
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help

Health Corner – The Value of Intergenerational Connection

Health Corner – The Value of Intergenerational Connection

THE VALUE OF INTERGENERATIONAL CONNECTION
by Susie Merrihew, MSW, LCSW

Some of my most cherished memories include many of you at St. Timothy. Camp Noah, a ministry that brings hope and healing to children who have been impacted by natural disaster, has been near and dear to my heart for just short of two decades. The transformation that occurs in many of the young campers over the course of one week is nothing short of miraculous. Similarly, it is awesome to see the way our volunteer team’s hearts are moved by the interactions throughout the week. I suspect that the ministry’s intergenerational nature is one reason that Camp Noah is so memorable for all. What a gift it is for 16-year-olds and 70-year-olds to have the opportunity to serve alongside one another. Equally touching is seeing a 45 and 80-year-old co- lead a group of 10-year-olds through a therapeutic activity. The week together with ages 5-80+ is a chance for sharing, learning, laughing, playing, and even crying on occasion, and cultivates beautiful growth and memories as keepsakes.

Intergenerational experiences can be valuable for all involved. The shared experience need not be as grand as spending a week together at camp. Time together can be as simple as playing games, coloring, reading, cooking, listening to music, gardening, or talking. The value of time together has less to do with the specific activity and much more to do with the quality of the shared interactions. Most importantly, never underestimate the positive impact that someone from one generation can make on another, regardless of the setting. 

Some benefits of intergenerational experiences include:

  • Stronger community
  • Mutual learning
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced loneliness or isolation
  • Break down stereotypes and improve understanding 
  • Learn and teach new skills
  • Increased sense of purpose and belonging

 

This past January our junior high and high school youth had the chance to play some games and share a meal with members from an earlier generation. Going into it, the participants did not know what to expect. By afternoon’s end, many smiles were exchanged, stories shared, and connections made. We treasure connection and shared ministry among all our members and look forward to continuing these opportunities in the year ahead!

 

Health Corner – Guidelines for Greeter

Health Corner – Guidelines for Greeter

GUIDELINES FOR GREETERS
by Jana Tindall RN, BSN

Happy Easter, Christ has risen!  

Romans 12:13 Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

You might have noticed recently that you are being met at the front door when you arrive for weekend church services!  Those members open the door for you because a greeter ministry has formally been reinstituted under the direction of Pastor Sarah.  As you greet people with a warm smile, you are setting the tone for a proper welcome to our community, and can be viewed as an extension of our pastors’ hands.  It is felt that the first 4 minutes of any human contact is critical to whether a person returns for a second visit. So, thank you to those who have volunteered to support this initiative! 

Guidelines for Greeters: The 5 T’s

  • Teachable: a true greeter should have the spirit and heart to serve people, and willing to be taught and learn ways to improve.
  • Thoughtfulness: open doors, assist visitors, utilize the available equipment; walkers, and wheelchairs for those in need. Answer questions.
  • Tactfulness: with your communication and where to direct people as needed, to the welcome table, coffee, bathrooms. 
  1. Timeliness: Arrive 15 minutes before church begins. Put on a greeter badge, which is available at the welcome table. The plan is to have a greeter present at the upper and lower entrances.
  2. Teamwork: communicate to the Pastors and point out new visitors. In church you might consider sitting near a new person vs your comfort spot in the sanctuary. After church, keep an eye out for people who need assistance getting back into their cars. There will always be a walker, and wheelchair at both entrances for use as needed.

There is a Worship Sign-up located in the narthex at the sign-up table that now includes Greeter.  Please check Pastor Sarah has scheduled another greeter workshop for existing greeters and any others who are interested on May 5th after church. May we continue to live the Love of Christ and welcome all who enter our place of worship!

In Wholeness of Health
Jana Tindall RN, BSN
Faith Community Nurse
Health and Wellness Ministry Coordinator

 

 

Health Corner – Time for Reflection

Health Corner – Time for Reflection

TIME FOR REFLECTION
by Susie Merrihew, MSW, LCSW

As odd as it may sound, Lent is my favorite of the liturgical seasons. Something about Lent speaks directly to my heart. Perhaps it’s because Lent is a season where we become more realistic about who we are. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” During the Lenten journey, we tend to be intentional about deciding whether to give something up or take on something new. The time and space for intentional reflection, increased awareness and discernment can help us draw closer to God.

The practice of reflection is important during Lent and throughout all seasons of life. Taking time to reflect is instrumental to our growth. Reflection helps cultivate self-awareness, helps us identify our core values and beliefs, helps clarify our goals and aspirations and helps us learn from our experiences.

Through reflection we become more resilient, we can increase our empathy and understanding, and may even improve our conflict resolution skills. Reflection is far from a passive activity. It requires dedication, honesty and a willingness to learn and grow.

Some suggested prompts for reflection:

-What does Lent mean to you?

-What areas of my life feel out of balance currently? Physically, emotionally, spiritually?

-Are there any areas of your life you’d like to focus on for growth or change?

-Am I taking time for quiet reflection and introspection?

-What practices could I adopt to draw closer to God or strengthen my spiritual life?

-Where do you see God’s presence in your life?

-How can you practice compassion, forgiveness and acceptance for yourself and others (remembering that God loves you unconditionally)?

-Do you hold unrealistic expectations of yourself or others? How can you let go of perfectionism and embrace vulnerability?

-Reflect on your inner strengths and resilience (Lent isn’t just about acknowledging weaknesses). How can you cultivate more gratitude for these qualities?

-How do I want to emerge from Lent?

-How can I shine my light?

I pray we all try to make the space to reflect, pray, and listen this Lenten season… and beyond. As we let go and shed, may we more fully embrace the person God created us to be.

 

Health Corner – Heart Disease Prevention

Health Corner – Heart Disease Prevention

Heart Disease Prevention

Our beloved custodian Amado Martinez was at work at St. Timothy on October 13, 2023. Later that day he passed away suddenly and far too young of coronary heart disease at age 42. He left behind his beautiful wife Sylvia, and their 3 wonderful children.

Heart disease strikes the young and old and can be swift in nature. Roughly 50% of men and 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Heart disease continues to be the # 1 cause of death in the United States according to the 2021 update. Heart disease and stroke claim more lives each year in the United States than all forms of cancer.

February is known as American Heart Month with the focus being on prevention and reducing one’s risk of heart disease, and also living successfully after being diagnosed with heart disease. The American Heart Association estimates up to 90% of cardiovascular disease may be preventable with education and action. It is important to know your risk and manage or eliminate your risk when appropriate.

Alterable risk factors:

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Non alterable risk factors:

  • Age/Gender/Race
  • Family history:
  • Personal history of heart or stroke events

Associated behaviors increase the risk of heart disease:

  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Tobacco use
  • Ineffective sleep

Lastly, mental health disorders: anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. People experiencing a mental health disorder may have fewer healthy coping strategies for stressful situations making it more challenging to make and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.

This month I will be highlighting evidenced based prevention steps to lower your risk of heart disease by changing those factors you can control.

More information to come about a FEBRUARY THED talk on the topic of Heart Disease Prevention. Susie Merrihew, MSW, LCSW and I invite you to attend this important event.

In Wholeness of Health,

Jana Tindall RN, BSN
Faith Community Nurse
Health and Wellness Coordinator

Health Corner – New Beginnings

Health Corner – New Beginnings

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Happy New Year! As we welcome in 2024, some may still be finalizing their new year’s resolutions. Others may be leery of making a resolution for fear of ‘breaking” it before the day’s end. Personally, I tend to resonate with the latter. This is largely because my broken resolutions far outweigh those I have been able to keep over the years. More recently, rather than making resolutions, I have found myself trying to embrace the new year as an opportunity for new beginnings.

There are some clear similarities between a new year’s resolution and a new beginning. Resolutions and new beginnings each include an element of growth and transformation. Yet, within the context of our Christian faith, the focus, and the source from which we draw our strength may differ. New year’s resolutions usually include a concrete plan to achieve a specific goal or change a behavior. To achieve these goals, people may heavily rely on their own willpower and personal fortitude. When the goal is achieved, success is often celebrated and when a resolution is ‘broken,’ feelings of failure, disappointment or frustration are common.

New beginnings tend to be more holistic. While a new beginning can include a shift in perspective or action, it also recognizes our limitations and dependence on God. The focus is not just about changing our behavior, but also about changing our hearts and growing in our relationship with Jesus. When we fall short, as Christians, we know we are met with God’s grace and mercy. We do not have to wait until next week or tomorrow to begin anew. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

 As we begin anew again, may we find space to reflect, renew and commit.

Time to reflect:

-Pray, meditate and/or journal: Take time for silent prayer and reflection. Consider what you want the coming year to look like and how you can draw closer to God. Jot down your thoughts and insights.

-Gratitude: Reflect on the past year and name the successes and the challenges. Express your gratitude to God and to others for the joys and the hardships.

Renewal:

-Renew commitments and rekindle your passions: reaffirm your commitment to your faith and values and identify ways you can seek and express your passions.

-Seek forgiveness and practice reconciliation: Identify areas in your life that need healing, offer forgiveness and seek reconciliation where possible.

Commitment:

-Service: Look for ways to serve others in your church or community. Volunteering, helping a neighbor in need or offering a kind word to someone can make a significant impact.

-Growth: Commit to continuing your faith journey, schedule time to read scripture and devotions, join a Bible study or participate in a faith based small group.

-Joy: Remember that joy and hope are central to the Christian faith. Even amidst the challenges, try to celebrate God’s presence in your life and share that joy with others.