God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Each of us at some time or other has encountered difficulties in our lives. The support and understanding given to us or withheld from us by others at such times might determine how we respond to and survive that crisis.
Having worked at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital for the past eight years has heightened my understanding of and desire to be an advocate for those facing mental health issues in their lives… as a client or the related family or friend.
Public awareness of such issues aids in dispelling stigmas and unjust discrimination that incorrectly define mental illness. Caring communities—(i.e. those of families, friends, religious/spiritual groups, neighborhoods, addiction services, etc.)—enhance the lives of those affected by mental health concerns through the love and support offered to those fraught with a variety of concerns.
Today because of various methods addressing the need for ongoing research, advocacy clusters, and yes—even the power of prayer as has now been verified through studies as being helpful in measurable ways—people in distress are receiving more help than ever that might possibly change their lives.
Mental illness is indeed a disease for which help is available. The goal of each person hospitalized with mental illness and those ministering to him or her is for that person to receive treatment that will enable her or him to be reintegrated into a caring community to resume life outside an institutional setting.
We must challenge stereotypes which restrain those in the throes of mental health struggles. Something as simple as a smiling face, a kind note, a word of praise, acknowledgement of the courage of people facing mental health issues, or just making others aware of the needs in this area of life can work wonders for the self-esteem, hope, and futures of those in courageously confronting mental illness.
Won’t you take time to learn more about mental health so that more caring communities might be developed so that those in need might receive the proper assistance and love?
The following is a list of resources that might prove helpful in your effort to offer a helping hand if only through becoming more educated:
www.nami.org website for the National Alliance on Mental Illness
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) NAMI’s toll-free number
1-888-999-6264 NAMI’s toll-free HelpLine
1-800-950-NAMI Centro de Accion Multicultural
firstname.lastname@example.org NAMI’s e-mail
1-800-382-6717 New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services
609-777-0674 Central Region Office
973-977-4397 Northern Region Office
609-567-7352 Southern Region Office
Ancora is a part of the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health
Services. Rev. Marilyn Pote Hutton is Supervisor Chaplaincy Services at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital. She has served in this capacity since April 28, 2004, when her supervisor, Rev. Joanne Martindale, was deployed to serve as an officer and chaplain in Iraq. Rev. Pote Hutton can be reached at 1-609-561-1700, Ext. 7527.