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This May, Check in on Your Mental Health

May 10, 2024

This May, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are observing Mental Health Awareness Month, a day our nation needs now more than ever. According to The National Institutes of Health, 57.8 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness. Mental illness can affect people’s self-esteem, relationships, job and even simple daily activities.

Unfortunately, in the past there has been a stigma attached to discussions about mental health. Thankfully, that is now changing, but we still have a ways to go to make people feel completely safe about speaking of their struggles.

To keep the momentum of honesty and healing moving, we need to emphasize the following points.

1. There’s no shame in admitting you have mental health challenges.

As you can see from the stat above, millions of other adults do as well. If you or a loved one suffers from a particular illness, know that several other people share the same or similar trials.

Having a mental health challenge doesn’t make you a bad person or unloveable. You are a precious child of God, and there are many people out there who love you!

Admitting your struggle is also the first step to healing.

2. You CAN get better!

The men who have come through St. Christopher’s Inn — our addiction treatment and recovery home — are proof. Many men have come to us in the depths of despair and have left affirmed, full of hope and charting a new direction for their life.

Here’s what one of our men had to say:

“I came into St. Christopher’s at thirty years old. Up until then, I was really only surviving. I didn’t really know how to live. Thanks to St. Christopher’s and the staff there, my life has completely changed. I went in there spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. I would hear ‘You’re a man worthy of love and respect,’ and that made me cringe because I didn’t think that was possible. I was fortunate to spend four and a half months there. Thanks to the [program], I can truly say that I believe that I’m a man worthy of love and respect.”

3. God wants to be involved in your healing process.

Therapy for mental illness is critical, and there are many techniques practiced by secular therapists that do a lot of good. But therapy needs a spiritual component to facilitate complete healing. Fr. Dennis Polanco, SA — the Director of St. Christopher’s Inn — highlights this spiritual component:

“Frequently the men who come to the Inn feel they are broken beyond repair. This is because one of the first things that the disease of addiction weakens or destroys is a person’s spirit, and they lose hope of ever recovering. These men are in need of more than just chemical dependency treatment—they need a spiritual awakening. This is why the Spiritual Direction offered to the men by the Friars and Staff oftentimes becomes the cornerstone of their recovery, and another reason for the Inn’s great success.”

Bring your mental health challenges to God in prayer and invite Him to be part of your healing process.

Your loving Father in heaven sees your pain, and He longs to make you well. Trust in Him!

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St. Christopher’s Inn845-335-1000
Addiction Treatment & Recovery Community
21 Franciscan Way P.O. Box 150 Garrison, NY 10524
Office of Mission Support888-720-8247
P.O. Box 303 Garrison, NY 10524
St. Christopher's Inn is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN: 13-3668321.