• Mental Health in the Midst of Coronavirus (Resources and More)

Mental Health in the Midst of Coronavirus (Resources and More)

(This post has been edited to add additional links)

Mental health in the midst of Coronavirus (Covid 19), specifically: depression and anxiety (links to various resources father below).

Before I get to the links, I wanted to remind any readers I’ve had GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) since childhood, and for many years, I had clinical depression. I saw psychiatrists and took anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants.

My depression is mostly long gone, and while I still deal with GAD, I guess with life experience comes better coping skills.

I am strangely chill about the coronavirus mayhem. I am concerned for my friends and family who are over the age of 60, because I don’t want any of them to contract Covid 19 (Coronavirus), but I am not too worried about catching it myself and dying.

I figure, if I do contract the disease and die, I cannot do anything to change it. If I am hospitalized, maybe the medical staff can treat me and I can pull through, but if not, I may die. And I’m okay with that.

At this point the only thing that spikes my anxiety at all is not the virus but how the public is acting – people are hoarding supplies, leaving nothing for others, and people have broken into fist fights at Sam’s Clubs stores over food and toilet paper.

But the older I get, the more I understand certain biblical passages now more than I did when I was younger, such as this one (from Luke 12) – a person doesn’t have to be a Christian or believe in a deity to get some wisdom out of the gist of this:

Do Not Worry

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Passages such as that one make more sense to me now than they did when I was growing up. Sitting around worrying about a virus isn’t going to do a thing to make your life better, so what’s the point in worrying about it?

The Links

If I find additional material about mental health in relation to Coronavirus, I will try to edit this post to add the information.

Here is a series of links from newspapers and magazines that discuss the covid19 virus (coronavirus) in light of mental health; some simply describe the situation, while others offer tips on how to deal with depression or anxiety, if one has either one.

What is it like to have an anxiety disorder in the time of coronavirus? My worst nightmare come to life – behind a paywall, but a free trial is available

The mental health cost of containing the coronavirus outbreak

A pandemic takes a unique toll on people with mental illnesses.

By Anagha Srikanth

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the NAMI helpline at 800-950-NAMI (6264).

…But for some, the anxiety can rise to a clinical level during an outbreak. Lewis said people should be aware of symptoms including difficulty sleeping, changes in eating patterns, rapid changes in mood, inability to carry out required or necessary tasks, self-medication using alcohol and drugs and prolonged self-isolation.

“For those who may already struggle with feelings of isolation due to depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, social distancing could increase those feelings of loneliness and isolation,” Lewis [Krystal Lewis, clinical psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health] said in an email.

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• Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

I’m not surprised. Christians are some of the most ignorant and judgmental people concerning mental health issues.

Summary for Christians reading this:

-Mental health problems are

not an indication of or result of spiritual issues or personal failings or weaknesses.

-Mental Health problems cannot be healed via spiritual means only.
Reading the Bible, volunteering at charities, believing in Jesus, praying and believing for a healing, living a sinless life, repenting of sin, and/or attending church will not make mental health problems vanish.

-Secular psychology / psychiatry and doctor prescribed medications used to treat mental health problems are not evil, anti-God, immoral, un-biblical.

Churches Struggle with Mental Health – Preachers Being Fired For Having Depression by I. Lovett

Snippets:

Christian leaders have lost jobs over such conditions as depression and bipolar disorder

By Ian Lovett / January 2020

In most industries, federal laws protect workers with disabilities, including mental illness. Church is an exception. Employees including pastors are still regularly fired after disclosing mental-health problems.

…. Statistics on mental health and pastors are scarce.

But psychologists who specialize in treating ministers say that Christian pastors are still regularly fired after church elders discover they suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or other mental-health problems.

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• Scientists May Have Uncovered The Reason Why People With Anxiety And Mood Disorders So Often Feel Unable To Escape Negative Thoughts And Emotions by D. DiSalvo

Scientists May Have Uncovered The Reason Why People With Anxiety And Mood Disorders So Often Feel Unable To Escape Negative Thoughts And Emotions by D. DiSalvo

Scientists May Have Uncovered The Reason Why People With Anxiety And Mood Disorders So Often Feel Unable To Escape Negative Thoughts And Emotions

Snippets:

November 2019

The largest brain imaging study of its kind may have found the reason why people with anxiety and mood disorders so often feel unable to escape negative thoughts and emotions.

Researchers analyzed a trove of brain scans–more than 9,000 from 226 previous functional imaging studies–that compared the brain activity of healthy adults to those diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders.

Analysis across the studies found abnormally low activity in brain regions responsible for stopping thoughts and shifting to new ones, referred to in the research as “cognitive control,” and hyperactivity in other brain regions that “process emotional thoughts and feelings.”

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• NIH Bets $20 Million Music Can Heal Our Brains

NIH Bets $20 Million Music Can Heal Our Brains

 NIH Bets $20 Million Music Can Heal Our Brains

…Well, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is hoping to find out why and whether music can feed and perhaps heal our brains as well.

The nation’s medical research agency is throwing in $20 million over five years to bring together music therapy and neuroscience and to study music’s potential to ease symptoms of an array of disorders including Parkinson’s disease, stroke and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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• Preacher Jarrid Wilson Dies by Suicide, Idiot Christians on Social Media Put Their Ignorance on Mental Health Issues on Display Once More

Preacher Jarrid Wilson Dies by Suicide, Idiot Christians on Social Media Put Their Ignorance on Mental Health Issues on Display Once More

Preacher Jarrid Wilson ended his own life a few days ago. I didn’t have the time then to write a post about it, though I wanted to.

From what I’ve seen of the after math of Wilson’s suicide, most Christians remain totally ignorant about mental health issues and erroneously believe that faith alone can and will heal someone of having a mental health problem,
while another variety of Christian wrongly believe that having faith in Jesus will keep one immune from developing depression or other mental health problems in the first place.

Here are a few links about that, and then I will add my two cents further below (and there are even more links below my commentary):

Jarrid Wilson, pastor and mental health advocate, kills himself

A US pastor known for his mental health advocacy has killed himself, church officials say.

Jarrid Wilson, 30, worked at te 15,000 member Harvest Christian Fellowship Church for 18 months before his death.

Mr Wilson and his wife founded Anthem of Hope, a programme created to help people dealing with depression.

He is survived by his two sons and wife Juli, who wrote the death had “completely ripped my heart out of my chest”.

Popular Megachurch Pastor and Mental Health Advocate Jarrid ilson Dies by Suicide at Age 30

In 2016, he founded Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated amplifying hope for those battling depression

by Robyn Merritt
Wed, Sept 11, 2019

Popular megachurch pastor and mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson has died by suicide.

His wife Juli Wilson broke the news to her followers by sharing a video of her “sweet husband” playing with their son.

Jarrid — a pastor at the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in California — was 30.

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• Anxiety Looks Different in Men by Andrea Petersen

Anxiety Looks Different in Men by Andrea Petersen 

Anxiety Looks Different in Men

Snippets:

Instead of coming across as nervousness or worry, anxiety in men often appears as anger, muscle aches or alcohol use—leading many men to go undiagnosed


When a man explodes in anger over something seemingly insignificant, he may appear like just a jerk. But he could be anxious.

Anxiety problems can look different in men. When people think of anxiety, they may picture the excessive worry and avoidance of frightening situations that often plague those who suffer. These afflict men, too.

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• Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Joshua Harris, and the Awful Christian Reaction

Josh Harris is a guy who wrote a book about sexual purity and dating in the 1990s (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) when he was in his late teens or early 20s – it’s a book that upset a lot of Christians who claim now that as teens, that book stunted their relationships and harmed them in other ways.

In the past couple of weeks, Harris announced on his social media he’s divorcing his wife and is “deconstructing” from the Christian faith.

In one of his social media posts, Harris said something or other about apologizing to women and to LGBT persons he may have wounded with some of his former teachings and beliefs.

At no time (that I recall) did Harris say he is now a flaming liberal who is a big time pro-LGBT- lifestyle- affirming SJW.

But some Christians are assuming he is now such.

Some are assuming either he is now a liberal, or else that he was seduced to (possibly) rejecting the faith because he was seduced by liberals or liberalism.

It’s not immediately clear to me if Harris rejects Christ now or is merely reevaluating the faith.

Before I continue discussing Harris and the Christian reaction to Harris’ comments, I will point you to a few off-site articles or editorials, so that you may gain any additional background information you may be wondering about (I’m not interested in covering all the nitty gritty in my own post here):

Author Joshua Harris Kisses His Faith Goodbye: ‘I Am Not a Christian’ – via CBN News (Christian site)

Joshua Harris falling away from faith: ‘I am not a Christian’ – via The Christian Post

‘Purity’ advocate dumps Christianity, apologises to gays
– Via Patheos, non-religious blog

Regardless of where Harris is faith-wise, I am disturbed, angry, and horrified to see how 98% of professing Christians are reacting to Harris and dealing with the subject of leaving the faith.

I have not seen many Christians demonstrate kindness or understanding.

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• Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag

Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag

Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag

Snippets:

One in five adults in the US lives with a mental health problem according to the National Institute of Mental Health – but most don’t seek out professional help. That’s where Mental Health First Aid – an eight-hour workshop – hopes to fill the gap.

The class trains citizens how to recognize the signs and symptoms of various mental illnesses — from depression to anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorder.

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• People Taking Antidepressants After The Age of 60 Are ‘THREE TIMES More Likely To Get Dementia Because They May Cause Nerve Damage’

People Taking Antidepressants After The Age of 60 Are ‘THREE TIMES More Likely To Get Dementia Because They May Cause Nerve Damage’

My disclaimer: I am NOT opposed to doctor-prescribed medications to treat mental health issues, in spite of the fact I do occasionally post content that is critical of such medications or of psychology or psychiatry. I am not opposed to the mental health profession, nor against medications, but, I am also not supportive of a view that any and all mental health treatments work for everyone.


People taking antidepressants after the age of 60 are ‘THREE TIMES more likely to get dementia because they may cause nerve damage’

June 2019

People taking antidepressants in middle or old age could have triple the risk of developing dementia, a study has found.

Antidepressants may damage or kill crucial nerve cells in the brain, researchers claimed in a study of more than 71,000 people.

Rates of dementia were found to be 3.4 times higher among people who took thedepression drugs after the age of 60.

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• Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris by G. Greenberg

Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris by G. Greenberg

Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris

Snippets:

The biology of mental illness is still a mystery, but practitioners don’t want to admit it.

…But, as Earle knew, psychiatrists could not peer into a microscope to see the biological source of their patients’ suffering, which arose, they assumed, from the brain.

They were stuck in the premodern past, dependent on “the apparent mental condition [his emphasis], as judged from the outward manifestations,” to devise diagnoses and treatments.

The protracted attempt to usher psychiatry into medicine’s modern era is the subject of Anne Harrington’s Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness.

As her subtitle indicates, this is not a story of steady progress. Rather, it’s a tale of promising roads that turned out to be dead ends, of treatments that seemed miraculous in their day but barbaric in retrospect, of public-health policies that were born in hope but destined for disaster.

From ice baths to Prozac, each development Harrington describes was touted by its originators and adherents as the next great thing—and not without reason.

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• Worry, Stress, and Anger Rising Among Americans (2018-2019)

Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world, new Gallup poll finds

More than half of all Americans are very stressed out: poll

Gallup released its annual Global Emotions Reportthis week. The survey of 151,000 adults in more than 140 countries found that levels of stress, anger and worry spiked in the US during 2018.

Researchers ranked America as the seventh most-stressed country in the world — falling not far behind developing nations such as Tanzania and the Philippines, economically embattled Greece and war-torn Iran.

…About 55% of adults in the US said they’d felt stressed during “a lot of the day,” outranking the global average by 20%. Also, 45% said they’d felt worry, and another 22% had been angered recently.

Americans’ Stress, Worry and Anger Intensified in 2018 by Julie Ray

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Americans among the most stressed in the world
Nearly half (45%) felt worried a lot
More than one in five (22%) felt angry a lot


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade.

Asked about their feelings the previous day, the majority of Americans (55%) in 2018 said they had experienced stress during a lot of the day, nearly half (45%) said they felt worried a lot and more than one in five (22%) said they felt anger a lot.

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• Christians Combat Depression and Suicide Too; Pastors and Ministers share How They Get Through by J. Law

Christians combat depression and suicide too; pastors and ministers share how they get through by J. Law

Snippets:

The depression rate worldwide is on a continual rise and Christians are not immune.

With multiple headlines of pastors who died by suicide throughout the United States, The Christian Post decided to reach out to ministers to talk about how they combat their darkest moments.  

…Despite the increasing notice of depression and suicide nationally, the resources to help people in the church struggling with these thoughts or feelings are scarce.

According to the World Health Organization, depression at its worst leads to suicide and it affects 300 million people worldwide.

It’s estimated that 15 percent of people will experience depression at some point in their adult lives.

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• Shortage Of Psychiatrists Causing A Growing Mental Health Crisis

Shortage Of Psychiatrists Causing A Growing Mental Health Crisis

Some of the following dates from 2018, some from 2019.

Infographic: Psychiatry Shortage in the United States 

Severe Shortage Of Psychiatrists Exacerbated By Lack Of Federal Funding

There’s a shortage of psychiatrists for those most in need

….The shortage of psychiatrists who accept insurance in the United States is a serious problem. Suicide rates are climbing in the U.S. and nearly one in fiveAmericans lives with mental illness.

Yet among the 43.4 million people with a mental illness in the U.S., only about 43 percent received treatment in the past year. Psychiatrists not accepting insurance is a major barrier to receiving treatment.

Addressing the escalating psychiatrist shortage

More people are seeking mental health treatment, but there aren’t enough psychiatrists to meet the demand. Learn what academic medicine is doing to help deliver care now and train more psychiatrists for the future.

Psychiatrist Shortage Escalates As U.S. Mental Health Needs Grow

…Against a backdrop of mental health crises from mass shootings to an increase in suicides, there’s an unprecedented demand for psychiatrists,new data and physician recruiters report.

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