Our Mission is to promote open, honest and supportive attitudes towards Mental Health. We pray that it touches your heart, helps free you from shame, fosters acceptance and inclusion, and inspires HOPE & HEALING.
NATIONAL HELPLINES AND WEBSITES
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Our parish has a Meditation Group that meets every Monday at 7.30am-8am in the Mazzarello Chapel. Click the HERE for more details. We also recommend Meditation Deep Peace by Bill Douglas and Stillness Meditation Therapy.
GET INVOLVED IN PARISH GROUPS
Our parish has many different groups that cater for a range of ages and interests. They can help you connect with others and to form valuable friendships. From the Knitting Group to Playgroups to SIP – Spirituality in the Pub, there is something for everyone. Check out the Parish Groups tab for more information.
DIRECTORY OF CHRISTIAN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
As a Catholic, you may be seeking to find a health professional who counsels from a Christian perspective. Here are the details of some Christian professionals that some of our parishioners have identified:
Dawn Wade, Psychotherapist Counsellor Engadine
Wendy Orlay, Psychiatrist
Gymea Baptist Southern Community Welfare
R U OK Day
Globally every 40 seconds someone dies of suicide. More than 2,500 Australians suicide each year. That's about 7 people every day. 65,000 people attempt suicide each year in Australia. Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years. Men account for around 75 per cent of all suicide deaths in Australia.
Mention My Name (Jay Nguyen) is a great reflection
Hope 103.2 is Sydney radio's non-denominational, Christian FM station that broadcasts mainstream and Christian contemporary music, entertaining shows, current affairs and inspirational segments. Their mission is Communicating Hope to transform life, faith and culture.
🙏 LET US PRAY
Preventing feelings of isolation and loneliness occurring in our community. Meaningful conversations with family and friends aren't about solving someone's problem; but helping that person feel connected and supported. We'll all grapple with tragedy, loss, and grief through life - and many of us will also live with a mental illness. We can all support each other to live with change, adversity and illness.
Thank anyone who’s been there for you during a rough patch or a tough day. Celebrate the people who already do that on a regular basis.
People with depression or suicidal thoughts often feel others can’t handle the intensity of their problems, but it can be a relief to them when they are asked about it. If you’re going to ask someone “R U OK?”
Are you prepared for what you might say if they do open up and tell you they aren’t?
Are you prepared to give them ongoing support?
Are you prepared to keep asking throughout the year, not on a mandated day to ask?
If you ask; ‘R U Ok? Listen without judgement; encourage action; and follow up, you can make a positive difference to someone’s resilience and well being.
STORIES OF HOPE & RECOVERY from our Parish Community
Michelle Age 37 – Depression (Post Natal) & Anxiety
My journey started nearly 4 years ago. As a happily married woman, with three beautiful children I was living an exceptionally blessed life. However about 9 months after giving birth to my third child I began to experience symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Whilst I sought help immediately I was unable to accept that the strong and resilient woman I had prided myself in being, could be affected by a mental health condition!! I was determined that this time in my life would be a small glitch and that within a matter of months I would be back to my old self.
Well, God had other plans for me….for I endured a much tougher journey than I could have ever imagined.
After 12 months I stopped seeking help and taking medication. I figured I’d manage the 10 days or so each month that were my ‘bad’ days. The first few months I managed well enough, but then my condition deteriorated rapidly. So influenced by the stigma I associated with needing medication, I now refused to use anything but natural therapies. And whilst these natural therapies have continued to be an important and vital part of my recovery, they were not enough by themselves to improve my condition. No longer did I have good days. Instead I found myself in the deepest and darkest valley I had ever known. I was consumed by anxiety, my fear of never getting better controlled me and then I developed obsessive thoughts that were with me every moment of the day.
I would cry out to God for a miraculous healing. I had been privileged enough to have an intimate relationship with Christ our Saviour and Healer, and to experience the amazing peace of the Holy Spirit throughout my life. Yet why wouldn’t God listen to my cries for help – why wouldn’t he put his hand upon me and heal me? Why couldn’t I feel his peace, when I most desired it?
After reaching my lowest point I gave up fighting the fact that I had a mental illness and realised that God had always been walking beside me, and that he did want to help me, but just not in the way that I had wanted. I finally agreed to take the combination of medication my psychiatrist had been suggesting for a long time, I found a wonderful psychotherapist who offered Christian counselling, I continued with the stillness meditation that I had learnt and I continued to pray and trust that the Lord had a purpose in all that I was enduring. Finally I began to have hope that I would one day get better.
Well I am so very proud to say that I have recovered from those darkest days and I am once again walking in the light of Christ. I am proud to admit that my recovery includes continuing with my medication; as well as occasional setbacks and bad days. But because I have learnt to manage these times and to realise that I am still that strong, resilient woman, they no longer have a huge impact on my life.
Believe it or not, even though the last 4 years were the hardest in my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. For I have been transformed by my suffering, I have grown in faith, I have matured with wisdom and I have been strengthened by my struggles.
The biggest lessons I learnt are that:
Suffering from a mental is NOT a sign of weakness, but often a sign of having tried to stay strong for too long;
There is absolutely no shame whatsoever in needing prescribed medication. If we get cancer, we pray that God will heal us, but we also undertake whatever treatment and medication is suggested by the experts. Treating your mental health condition should be no different.
There is no shame in seeking professional help. In fact, admitting that you need help is actually a sign of enormous courage and bravery. Whether it’s a GP, psychologist, hospitalisation, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, counsellor etc. it doesn’t matter – they are all there to help you.
There is no shame in taking a long time to recover and that recovery doesn’t have to mean stopping your treatment or therapy options.
Finally, there is no shame in not being able to feel the presence of the Lord in your suffering. I believe as Christians, it is one of the biggest challenges we face when dealing with depression. I do promise though, that he is definitely still there walking beside you, even if you can’t feel him.
Unfortunately everyone’s journey is different and so I cannot tell you what path your journey will need to take, what lessons you must learn, what tools or methods will especially help you, nor can I predict the speed of your journey, but I do that if you continue to have hope and seek help,
you will get there.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further details. God bless, Michelle