Individual and Societal Mental Health
This month a BYU student committed a very public suicide. Utah’s suicide rate has continually increased over the past decade until now we are 5th place in the nation.
There are a variety of factors contributing to these suicides as well as the general malaise of individual mental health and our relationships. The Deseret News did an in-depth, year long report on anxiety of teens specifically. The last installment provides useful information as well as many resources to create more wellness in addition to help lines.
In a recent opinion piece for the Deseret News, Angie Vega quoted Washington Post reporter Heather Long “People are not content in their jobs and relationships, and depression diagnoses are at an all-time high,” Angie continues: “There has been a decline in the mental and emotional well-being of people in 21 states across the United States. I believe shame and idealization of individualism have led us here.”
At this time of year we are inclined to recall Christ’s words:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. (Matt 25:35)
Of course our challenge is to recall and act on this throughout the year. And particularly with the issue of mental and societal health, people are often hungry and thirsty for face to face human interactions and to be with people who are willing to listen and love them where they are.
I think our Think Again and Faith Again groups do this pretty well thanks to you who participate and lead discussions. I am deeply grateful to you for being willing to take strangers like me and others in.