Why are mental health awareness and mental health care important?
- While 14k die in the US from hunger each year, approximately 8 million die from mental health variances yearly, but this is not something we talk about.
- 67 percent of the homeless have mental health variances; if we can help stabilize people before they lose their homes, we are preventing homelessness instead of reacting to it.
- Often, we focus on mass shootings and inner-city gun violence, while 54 percent of gun deaths occur by suicide, not homicide. But we do not talk about this.
Interestingly Light for the Darkness is many folks’ entry point into mental health care; many feel less stigma going to a spiritual group than a counselor or psychiatrist or didn’t think they could afford a counselor or psychiatrist. So, Light for the Darkness often acts as a mental health “pantry,” helping them find free and affordable resources like counseling and psychiatry because our worshipful support groups are just one piece of the pie that works to buoy the spirit and help stabilize the mood.
Receive now this open and honest offering from one of our members:
Rural L4TD Member: Crystal
Fun facts: I live in a Mid-Missouri small town. I daily play with my dogs, Buddy and Cleatis, hike, garden, listen to the river and create or fix things.
My Mental Health Variances: In the last five years, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety; even daily functions were a struggle. Now I see a psychiatrist and attend weekly therapy.
What skills help? Learning to communicate my needs has helped, especially learning how to say “no” and defining my boundaries. Saying “no” is not easy. Early on it felt like I was letting people down, but with practice it is easier and helped with self-confidence.
Breathing techniques helped too, including “in for the count of five, out for the count of five” for five minutes or until the panic lessens. And, learning to identify my feelings, using L4TD feel wheels and talking with L4TD facilitators, has helped, too.
What role has faith played in your mental health?
My faith has had its ups and downs. I blamed God for my not feeling God’s presence. However, through work with professionals, L4TD members and facilitators, my faith has grown immensely, which helps me with tough times; nothing is too big or little for God. Learning to give the burdens and the bigger picture to God has helped me accept the things I cannot change.
What has been the hardest part of your mental health journey? The hardest parts of getting healthy have been limited rural resources, few folks around me open and vulnerable about their feelings (mental health is not something we talk about around here), fighting people who had my best interest at heart, preoccupation with myself, always needing reassurance, connecting when I didn’t want to but knew it was best for me, and functioning at work in the midst of my emotional rollercoaster.
Where do you find hope?
I find hope in my dogs, the sound of the running river, fellow L4TD members, who have walked through similar struggles, who accept me and share their stories to help me, and God; I would not have been able to do this without God. I am hopeful for the next L4TD group, meeting new people, connecting and being part of something bigger than myself.
What role has Light for the Darkness played in your mental health journey?
Five years ago, my father passed away, which meant I needed to mature quickly. I picked up my house and moved it to find a drama-free space to do the hard work of emotional healing. During this crisis, L4TD became a big part of my life. Being accepted by a group that understands my struggles and celebrates my wins has been healing, albeit astonishing. Through L4TD I feel heard, accepted, supported in prayer, and enjoy being a part of something bigger.
Please support the work of L4TD providing resources to rural areas, as well as urban.
Your May gifts will be matched up to $10,000 toward our need of $50,000 by December.
Email L4TD or join a L4TD group.