May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I doubt that this theme will be lifted up through our national news, still it is a time to spread the word as best we can. The fact of the matter is that the mental health of many has been challenged during this past year. Our struggle with covid-19 and the relational "fall out" from a hostile election have taken a toll on many. A physician friend of mine told me recently that many of her patients had suffered "set-backs" in their physical health over the past year. I believe that the professional counseling community would say that this has also been true for many regarding their mental health....
There are two groups that I am especially concerned with at present: The first is our Law Enforcement Community. The movement to "defund the police" and allegations of "systemic racism" have increased the stress of many police officers to levels that are almost unbearable. Officers are now retiring in record numbers. My fear is that these problems are going to get worse before they get better.
The second group that is on my mind is our clergy. Yes, that is correct; clergy (and directors of non-profit organizations) are dealing with incredible challenges when it comes to fund raising, program development, and sufficient staffing. Many are reporting increased levels of conflict within their churches and organizations. I'm hearing from many who are not sure how much longer they can continue in their present place of service.
For all who are under stress, and for the clergy and police especially, I would simply say that help and support are available. I know there are many mental health professionals who, like myself, will never turn away a police officer or clergy because of financial needs.
Mental health, like physical health, can be fragile. Problems can "sneak up on us" and sometimes people simply don't know where to turn. But I hope that this May, many will become aware that help is just a phone call away.
I would be glad to schedule an appointment or assist you in finding a therapist near you.
918 - 914 - HOPE (4673)
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.