A month ago my E-Redeemer reflection was focused on the need to bring the topic of mental health into conversation within our parish. I had just completed training offered by the Mental Health Association of Maryland to be an instructor for Mental Health First Aid. I ended the article saying “I choose to be an active voice for this topic. If you are interested in being a part of a group to raise awareness of mental health issues, I invite you to email me. Let’s explore productive ways to educate and inform. It’s time. The response to that invitation from a number of people was very heartwarming and powerful.  The subject clearly is resonating with many, demonstrating a need to which we as a congregation can and will respond.

Next steps include the following:

*Sunday, January 21 our Adult Forum (11:30-12:15) will be a general discussion on ways Redeemer might become a resource both for individuals as well as groups.

* I will be teaching a pilot class for Mental Health First Aid in the next couple of weeks to a small group and then will open that opportunity to the parish on an ongoing basis.

* Establish a Mental Health Advocacy Committee for the parish. Email me if you would like to serve on that group!

This morning I read an article from Huffington Post (https://themighty.com/2016/05/feeling-lonely-while-experiencing-depression/) entitled “The Symptom of Depression We Don’t Talk About.”  That symptom is loneliness. The article concludes: “Depression is a disease of loneliness, and connection with other people makes all the difference in recovery.” That insight alone makes a compelling argument that our parish family can provide valuable support to those in need.

These are first steps as we together address the multiple aspects of mental health awareness. I encourage and welcome your participation. It’s time!