May 12, 2021
Pr. Cathy Daharsh
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given
me, so that they may be one, as we are one. ~John 17:11
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month is important to me as I have walked with many who have struggled with mental health issues. It’s also personal. A year ago, Easter, my husband Tom’s brother died of suicide. I also had a brother over 20 years ago that died of suicide.
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we are listening into Jesus’ praying for us. Jesus is praying for you and me. Praying for the community. We need those prayers, especially, in the days that we are feeling fatigued and worn out by the pandemic. Jesus heartfelt prayer is for your protection as you are sent out into the world to share his love.
Alec Campbell, the Executive Director of NAMI MC (National Alliance for Mental Illness of McHenry County), noted in his newsletter, “These last 13 months have been the most challenging of our lifetimes. We’ve persevered, and while there finally appears to be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, there’s never been a greater need to take care of our mental health. Millions of people are affected by mental illness each year: one in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness, and 17 percent of youth ages 6 - 17 experience a mental health disorder. The pandemic has exacerbated these rates. The data shows that more people are seeking mental health services now compared to before COVID-19. Consider these statistics:
- After a COVID diagnosis, nearly one in five people are diagnosed with a mental disorder. 
- 74 percent of psychologist said they were treating more patients for anxiety disorders than before the pandemic. 
- Americans experienced symptoms of depression from April through June 2020 at a rate four times that of the same time period in 2019. Symptoms of anxiety saw a threefold increase, as well.”
Christ’s love is needed in the world more than ever. We will know Christ’s love through praying and caring for one another. When we take time to pray for one another and lift up challenges and concerns, we open a space for God to work and be in relationship with us, to care for us, and to help us to see the needs around us.
May you take time to pray daily as Jesus prays for you. Please do reach out if you need help and always know that you are loved. Amen.