Talking About Mental Health
This morning we had the privilege to welcome several pastor’s from the greater Burlington and Oakville area to our annual gathering at Trinity, known as our Pastors’ Breakfast. While we did not have the opportunity to physically enjoy a cup of coffee together along with delicious pastries, hot bacon, and fresh fruit as prior years, the time of fellowship together warmed our hearts and nourished our souls.
During our chapel, we highlighted the importance of Mental Health, in light of the fact that it’s Bell Let’s Talk Day. We know that Mental Health has been very negatively impacted due to COVID-19, especially in light of the lockdowns which have led to greater isolation. According to the Canadian Association for Mental Health, “A recent poll found that 50% of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began with many feeling worried (44%) and anxious (41%) and that 81% of Canadian workers reported that the pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health.”
Furthermore, Children’s Mental Health Ontario highlighted the negative impact this has had on youth and added that “In a survey conducted in the early days of the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of youth said that their mental health had gotten worse since the pandemic. Over 60 percent of youth reported feeling a combination of worry, upset, sad and angry about the abrupt end to the school year, ability to see their friends and uncertainty about the future.” We know things have not improved since then.
Back in November, Dr. Alvin Loh shared with us on the topic of Mental Health. He spoke about how stress and anxiety affect us, while also offering a message of hope. He reminded us of some verses that can help us and we meditate on God’s word including 1 Peter 5:7, which instructs us to, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you,” along with Isaiah 26:3-4, which concludes, “God’s perfect peace is given to those whose mind is stayed on Him.”
While it is very important to deal with our own Mental Health and talk about it, we also spoke about the key role we can play by listening to others. James 1:19 advises us that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” We also know that listening can actually be an ideal way of loving one another. Jesus says in John 13:34-35, “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”
It’s not always easy for us to slow ourselves down from our busy pace, turn off our social media, and actually listen to someone else. It’s even harder to listen carefully with empathy to understand what someone is trying to communicate. It is one of the best ways though, that we can honour them and demonstrate love and care. Whether it be a family member, friend, or stranger, we can lend our ears and in turn our hearts by engaging them and giving one of our most precious commodities, our time, to better understand where they are hurting. This act of love coupled with prayer can be life-changing for someone going through a difficult time.
I encourage you to reach out to someone and truly listen to them. We thank God that He is always a faithful listener who hears and answers our prayers. Let’s love one another by being there, listening, and praying for each other during these difficult times.
J-D Lussier, Principal