Fear, Anxiety and Courage

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

31 July 2012

You can have all three. Crowded places, large gatherings and movie theaters have a growing commonality for many.

The shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado brought the worst and best of us, once again. We as exceptional Americans have unique qualities that help us in many ways. When confronted with an obstacle someone usually finds away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it without waiting for a government solution.

There were several named heroes in the Aurora shootings who gave their lives protecting loved ones or friends, just as their were in the field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 who brought down plane so it would not hit the Capitol building.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in spite of fear.

There are many named and unnamed heroes who serve and have served in the US Military; they gave the government a blank check to include their lives.

There is a commonality with survivors, victims, heroes, first responders, and witnesses of tragic events or crimes. They all experience emotion.  It is possible that each could be diagnosed and treated for the medical condition of a mental illness called PTSD.

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

It is true most people would not want to think of PTSD as medical condition called a mental illness because of the Stigma attached the words mental illness.

PTSD and other the medical conditions of a mental illness are common and treatable.  If you or someone you know experience any of the symptoms please call your Doctor.

When you are confronted with an obstacle you can or someone can help you find away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it.

Fear is okay and often healthy. Having some anxiety can be okay. Fear and anxiety can be debilitating if left unchecked. Have the courage to overcome.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/fear-anxiety-and-courage/


Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Self Care

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

September 30, 2007, updated

Everyone is familiar with stress. Stress comes in various forms and degrees everyday. Some stress is good for us. When we experience great amounts of stress and our physical or mental functioning is affected that could be a problem.

Feeling like there are too many pressures and demands on you?

Losing sleep worrying about a project or task ahead of you? Eating on the run because your schedule is just too busy? You’re not alone; everyone experiences stress at times, – adults, teens and even kids. There are things we can do to reduce or manage stress.

When we feel “pumped” or “wired” or an increased amount of energy and alertness, this is a result of small doses of beneficial stress.

When the level of stress becomes too great for us to handle we can get “stressed out”, “burned out” or be at our “wits end”. That is when our physical well being could be compromised. We all handle stress differently and each has a different level of pressure we can safely handle. We must listen to our bodies. Symptoms that we feel may include: anxiousness, nervousness, distraction, excessive worry, or internal pressure.

Our outward appearance may start to change as we appear: unusually anxious or nervous, distracted, or self-absorbed.

If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time or the stress level increases we could experience: anxiety or panic attacks, a feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried, irritability and moodiness, allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma, problems sleeping, drinking, smoking or eating too much, doing drugs, excessive fatigue, depression, could even think of hurting yourself or others, headaches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, chest pains or pressure, racing heart, dizziness or flushing, tremulousness or restlessness, hyperventilate, or have a choking sensation, feeling of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness. If these symptoms persist or increase in severity or frequency seek medical help.

Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room if your stress results in any of the following symptoms: thoughts of harming yourself or others, chest pain, fluttering or rapid heartbeats, headaches unlike your usual headaches, or any condition that you feel might cause you serious harm if not treated immediately.

Pressures that that become too intense or last too long or troubles that are shouldered alone can cause stress overload. Some things that could overwhelm us are: being bullied or exposed to violence or injury, relationship stress, family conflicts or the heavy emotions that can accompany a broken heart or death of a loved one, ongoing problems with work or schoolwork related to a learning disability or other problems, such as ADHD (once the problem is recognized and the proper support is given this stress usually disappears), or crammed schedules – such as not having enough time to rest and relax.

With all the above you might get the idea that we cannot do it alone. We are not designed to run at high speed all the time. We were designed for fellowship and to live in a community. A very wise person taught me to use my words. When we feel something is wrong we need to use our words to share our feelings in a safe setting. When we hold all these things in we become like a pressure cooker without a safety release valve and we could explode or implode. Exploding could hurt others or things around us. Imploding could do grave us great physical harm.

Remember to take care, eat right, slowly enjoying your meal, do everything in moderation, regularly exercise and really relax and rest.

Professional help is available, if needed, to help get on or stay on the right track. It is your body, listen to it, treat it well and it will treat you well.

More information and workshops on mental health was available at the NAMI State Convention Oct 132007 at the Sheraton in Framingham hosted by NAMI Greater Framingham. Oct 7-13 2007 was Mental Health Awareness Week.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2007/10/06/stress-anxiety-depression-and-self-care/

Getting Parents And Teens Talking About Mental Health

5 Ways to Get Your Teen to Open Up About Their Mental Health

Mary Fristad, Ph.D., ABPP

Many parents find it challenging to get their kids to talk about their mental health concerns. Yet it is essential that parents understand the stresses their teens face. Prompting open and honest conversations now will help you build skills that will support your child for years to come. Your teen may be defensive or fearful of opening up. Still, if you approach with sincere love and concern, you can encourage productive, healthy dialogue.

We sat down and spoke with Families for Depression Awareness Advisory Board member Mary Fristad, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of Academic Affairs and Research Development at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Services in Columbus, Ohio. She shared these tips for navigating a healthy and open dialogue with your teen about their mental health.

1. Find Shared Activities

Talking isn’t the only form of communication. Teens will be more likely to express and share their emotions and worries over an activity they enjoy. Find an activity that both you and your teen like to do, whether it’s cooking together, playing Scrabble, or walking the dog. Keep your expectations low and relax into the activity. Sometimes just sharing a positive experience is enough.

2. Use What Works for Them

How does your teen prefer to communicate? If your son only texts with his friends, start there. If your daughter likes journaling, create a shared journal where you write notes back and forth. Fristad also encourages parents to try less “eyeball to eyeball contact.” If you notice your teen seems uncomfortable talking face-to-face, try while in the car or sitting on the edge of their bed while the lights are out. This may feel safer to many teens than looking you in the eye.

3. Validate Their Emotions

As parents, we tend to try to solve our teen’s problems. Instead, make an effort to show your teen that you understand and empathize with what they are going through. Don’t be afraid to ask your teen about their feelings. Then reflect back on what they’ve said and validated it without rushing ahead to solutions.

4. Normalize What They’re Feeling

Everyone is struggling emotionally in some way and some more than others. It can be helpful to normalize their feelings by saying something like, “It’s been a horrible year in so many ways, how’s it been for you?” or “A lot of people are feeling depressed and anxious right now, how are you feeling?” You can also acknowledge briefly that you have concerns as well. Your teen may be more likely to talk if you go first.

5. Control Your Own Emotions

If your child comes home in an angry mood, rather than responding with equal emotional intensity, picture yourself as a container that can simply hold his or her feelings. Reflecting back with curiosity (e.g., Wow, you seem really upset, did something go wrong in your day?) offers the possibility of a fruitful conversation. If you are angry with your child, consider taking a cooling-off period for yourself before launching into a discussion of the conflict. Make sure that both you and your teen are ready to have the conversation before beginning. If your teen has had previous suicide attempts, Fristad notes that you may be wary to push into emotional territory with your child. These moments can bring up guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and many other emotions for parents. Remember to breathe—long and slow, and wait until calmer before proceeding.

“When your teen does start talking about their mental health, be sure to let them know you are happy that they are opening up to you,” counsels Fristad.

Be prepared to listen more than you talk. Remember to validate your child’s emotions to help them feel understood and build their overall emotional health.

Finally, Fristad advises, “Try to stay mindful of how important this is to your child and to your relationship with them.”


Learn more

5 Ways to Get Your Teen to Open Up About Their Mental Health


How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Mental Health

A Post for Teens and Young Adults

Talking to your parents or any adult about your mental health can be challenging, uncomfortable, or even intimidating. It probably feels more natural to confide in your friends than with your parents. It can be scary opening up to your parents about feelings of depression or anxiety, partly because you don’t want to upset them.

Even though it may not be easy, having conversations with your parents or other trusted adults can help your mental health in the long run. Talking through your emotions with a trusted adult can give you more clarity about what you might be going through. You’ll likely feel less isolated. It’s also an important part of establishing a support system you can lean on when times are tough.

Families for Depression Awareness Advisory Board member Mary Fristad, Ph.D., ABPP,   Director of Academic Affairs and Research Development at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Services in Columbus, Ohio, recently shared with us common concerns that teens may have about opening up to their parents, along with some tips to make talking about your emotions more manageable.

Send up a Little Flag

If you do not feel comfortable expressing all your feelings at once with your parents, start by sharing one thing. For example, you may feel overwhelmed and depressed, lonely and isolated during COVID, tired from not sleeping well, and stressed by the school. That’s a lot to tackle at once. You might take the first step by telling your parent, “I miss seeing my friends.”

Speaking up opens the door so you can work together to find options that could help. For example, you could explore with your parent how you might connect with friends in a safe way. Fristad offers, “Can we talk about options?” as a less emotionally-charged way to start these conversations.  This allows you and your parent to compromise and find meaningful solutions to address a specific challenge. You can build it from there.

Communicate Honestly and Openly

“Parents tend to focus on behavior and may have a negative view of the behavior they see from their teens,” says Fristad. Slamming doors, skipping family meals, hibernating in their rooms, and so on. Adults often don’t realize what’s behind your behavior. One way to change this is to talk with your parents about the “why.” Sharing your feelings with a parent can give them insight into why you are feeling or behaving the way you are. This allows your parents to understand what’s bothering you and shift their perspective on your actions.

For example, if you just got into an argument with a friend, you might get angry and snap at your parents when they ask you about your day. Instead of reacting this way, help your parents understand what’s going on and causing you to feel and react this way. You could say something like, “I don’t really want to talk about it, but Becca and I just had a fight over text so I’m pretty upset. I just need some time by myself.”

What if My Parent Isn’t Helpful?

If you think your parents won’t be willing to help you or listen, Fristad suggests you should still try to talk to them. They may surprise you.

“Sometimes parents are not responsive because they are stressed or have a lot going on themselves,” she says. “Ask your parent when is a good time for the two of you to talk. Figure out the right environment to approach your parents with a conversation. It might be while going for a walk, driving to an appointment, or cooking dinner together.”

If you try to reach out to your parents and they won’t help, turn to another trusted adult in your circle such as a teacher, counselor at your school, leader in your spiritual community, or your favorite aunt. It’s important not to give up. You will feel better and less alone after talking with a trusted adult.


Looking to learn more?

How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Mental Health


Chilling First Amendment

By Rev Paul N Papas II
September 3, 2013

Most people have heard of the First Amendment without understanding it or its history. At this point in time the First Amendment is under assault. Some of these assaults have become vitriolic and devolved into personal attacks. A little history is needed to show how and why we have the First Amendment.

Many of the first settlers to this part of the New World that we now know as the USA came from Great Britain where the King was both head of state and head of the Church of England. At that time adherents to other dominations were ostracized and persecuted which motivated them to flee to seek freedom to worship God according to their denominational doctrine. Some came to this part of the New World directly, some came by way Holland or other countries seeking the freedom to worship God without interference from the government.

When this country decided the Articles of Confederation were not sufficient, they had a choice to amend that or draft a new document, to do that they called a Constitutional Convention. They decided on a new document.

Several delegates to the Constitutional Convention refused to sign the newly drafted constitution because it did not include a bill of rights. Bills of rights were typically parts of the constitutions of the several states of the day (and today), placed there to ensure that certain rights were recognized by the government. Most of the delegates did not feel such a bill was necessary, and other may have been on the fence but were weary from the months of negotiations.

The lack of a bill of rights was one of the main arguments that the Anti-Federalists used to try to convince the public to reject the Constitution. But the need for change was all too evident, and it was not rejected. However, some of the states sent suggestions for amendments to the Constitution to add an enumeration of certain rights. The ratification messages of the states included many varying suggestions, which the very first Congress took under consideration in its very first session. (Note it was not sent to a study committee for some future Congress to settle.)

What makes the first Amendment so important?

The Constitution granted by the people created the government, by contract. In this Contract the federal government is given enough power to protect people’s unalienable rights from being damaged by foreign aggressors and other individuals.

Unalienable Rights can never be taken away by anyone, including the government, because they come from God. Inalienable Rights are granted by the government and subject to cancellation by the government or the people.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a Republic which guarantees each of us our Unalienable Rights. In a Democracy a vote by 51% could cancel the Rights of the other 49%.

The Contract also limits the federal government to ensure that the government itself never became the oppressor and destroyer of those rights.

Once you fully understand those two statements, the reason the First Amendment may be clear.

Our rights come from a power higher than the government, God. If the government could mandate a state religion, there would be no power higher than the official government endorsed religion. Thus our rights would in essence come from our government, and thusly could be taken away by the government.

The Freedoms of Speech, Assembly, and of the Press are there to make sure we had a way to find out what was going on and could let other people know about it if the government ever got the idea not honor the Contract and give itself powers which we the people hadn’t consented to grant them.

If government controlled the message and religious beliefs it would dictate how the people thought and acted. In essence government would have final word on what constitutes open expression of religion and alienate people from their unalienable rights. When you have the power to rule over God, you become God, which is exactly what the First Amendment was created to prevent.

Federal laws are passed by Congress and enacted when signed by the president, or by a veto override. There are some who believe the words “separation of church and state” prevent Prayer or other “religious” activities in public. When Courts determine what the authors of a law meant by a certain word or phrase they review the Congressional Record in order to make a ruling. The phrase “separation of church and state” was written in a private letter by Thomas Jefferson.

The Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, record the months of discussions and debates of the ninety Founding Fathers who framed the First Amendment. Significantly, not only was Thomas Jefferson not one of those ninety who framed the First Amendment, but also, during those debates not one of those ninety Framers ever mentioned the phrase “separation of church and state.” It seems logical that if this had been the intent for the First Amendment – as is so frequently asserted-then at least one of those ninety who framed the Amendment would have mentioned that phrase; none did.

If Jefferson’s letter is to be used today, let its context be clearly given – as in previous years. Furthermore, earlier Courts had always viewed Jefferson’s Danbury letter for just what it was: a personal, private letter to a specific group. There is probably no other instance in America’s history where words spoken by a single individual in a private letter – words clearly divorced from their context – have become the sole authorization for a national policy. Jefferson’s Danbury letter should never be invoked as a stand-alone document. A proper analysis of Jefferson’s views must include his numerous other statements on the First Amendment.

The assault on the First Amendment is an assault on God.

There are those who can not win an argument on the merits so they resort to the bully pulpit to abuse, demean and intimidate those with opposing views. The people who resort to such bulling tactics are generally insecure, anxious people who have many fears. Their thinking is that if they bellow enough others will give in, leave, or suggest the one being violated be removed from the situation. Either way the bully gets the sand box to himself. When the abuser/bully is stood up to he looses his power over the one violated. The abuser/bully can create mental health issues for the ones he violates, leaving more carnage.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/chilling-first-amendment/


With the Exception of Weekly Churchgoers, Americans’ Mental Health Is at a 20-Year Low

By Megan Briggs -December 11, 2020

weekly churchgoers

Americans rated their mental health lower this year than they ever have in the past two decades, according to a survey by Gallup. The percentage of people who rated their mental health as “excellent” or “good” shrunk by nine points this year, compared to last year. But there is one group of people who have actually managed to increase their “excellent” and “good” ratings in a year that has brought stressanxiety, and worry to many. According to the survey, weekly churchgoers are still faring well.

“The latest weakening in positive ratings, from a Nov. 5-19 poll, are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives, but may also reflect views of the election and the state of race relations, both of which were on Americans’ minds this year,” a report on Gallup’s survey states.

Just over 1,000 adults were surveyed via telephone for this year’s annual November Health and Healthcare survey, which Gallup has conducted every year since 2001. 

This year, the percentage of Americans that rated their mental health positively (they responded with either “excellent” or “good” when asked “How would you describe your own mental health or emotional wellbeing at this time?”) was 76 percent. This is down from 85 percent in 2019. The second lowest rating that has been reported occurred in 2002, when 81 percent of Americans rated their mental health positively. 

While the numbers indicate that more Americans overall are struggling with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, when the data are broken down by demographics, a couple of groups emerge as seemingly more resilient to the year’s harsh circumstances, at least mentally. Those groups are churchgoers who attend services at least once a week and Democrats. The big winner was weekly churchgoers, however. For this group, 46 percent reported “excellent” mental health this year compared to 42 percent last year. Comparatively, Democrats didn’t see an increase in their “excellent” numbers, rather the smallest decrease out of any of the other demographic groups surveyed (29 percent of this group reports “excellent” mental health this year compared to 30 percent last year). 

The biggest decreases in “excellent” mental health ratings occurred among the following groups:

Republicans (15 percent decrease)
People who attend church seldom/never (13 percent decrease)
People who attend church nearly weekly/monthly (12 percent decrease)
People who make more than $40,000 a year (12 percent decrease)
People who make more than $100,000 a year (12 percent decrease)

Other notable decreases occurred among women (10 percent decrease), singles (10 percent decrease), Independents (11 percent decrease), whites (10 percent decrease), and those aged over 65 (10 percent decrease). 

Weekly churchgoers were the only group to actually increase their numbers of “excellent” ratings. It’s unclear whether those attending services weekly did so in person or online, but a couple appear safe to draw from the survey results: Church services act as a boon to a person’s mental health and church communities are essential for helping people through adverse times

https://churchleaders.com/news/386760-with-the-exception-of-weekly-churchgoers-americans-mental-health-is-at-a-20-year-low.htm

Helped By Your Pet

7 March 10
By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

Patting your pet has been proven to be good for your health. With so many warning labels on food, medicines, and your hot cup of coffee isn’t it nice to have a natural way to nurture yourself.

Researchers are finding that pets truly have the power to heal their owners, especially the elderly. The most serious disease for older people is not cancer or heart disease, but loneliness.

Too often, people who live alone or are suddenly widowed, die of broken hearts. Love is the most important medicine and pets are one of nature’s best sources of affection. Pets relax and calm. They take the human mind off loneliness, grief, pain, and fear. They cause laughter and offer a sense of security and protection. They encourage exercise and broaden the circle of one’s acquaintances.

Patients in hospitals and nursing homes who have regular visits from pets – whether their own or those brought in from various agencies – are more receptive to medical treatment and nourishment. Animals give the patient the will to live and in nursing homes, the medical staff is often surprised to see residents suddenly “become alive.” Animals have a calming effect on humans and benefit mental well-being, especially with children and the elderly.

In recent years, the experts have been relying on pet therapy as a valuable aid in reaching out to the elderly, the in-firmed, and to ill or abused children throughout the country. Therapy animals go to convalescent homes, hospitals, day care centers, juvenile halls, and prisons. These animals are trained to be calm, gentle and well-mannered, especially around rambunctious children. There are no breed requirements. In fact, many therapy animals are mixed breeds. They come in all sizes and shapes. Cats and small dogs are good because they can be lifted easily and fit even on the smallest laps. A large dog makes a good companion for someone in a wheelchair, sitting patiently and allowing the occupant to stroke his fur.

Most importantly is that the therapy cats and dogs have a calm, gentle personality and are people-oriented. They must love attention and being petted and not be shy. In addition, they need basic obedience training and should be conditioned to not be frightened by sudden noises. They provide an invaluable service to those who are lonely, abandoned, or ill; indeed, anyone who needs the miraculous healing that can arise from a hug and a gentle touch.

Children, especially those who are abused or neglected, are able to communicate with animals. A pet offers a safe place for a child with emotional problems. They give unconditional love, providing a security blanket. A dog, cat, ferret or parrot can be the bond that glues a family together when upheaval, such as moving, death or divorce, occurs. Often, an animal can reach a child beyond an adult’s touch.

We were designed to have fellowship with each other, to love and be loved. Sometimes circumstances have become barriers to one of our basic needs, to love and be loved.

The innocence of animals and their ability to love unconditionally makes animals special. Human beings want to be part of their world, to connect with them in a mysterious and powerful way that will strengthen and nurture both humans and animals.

_ Pets help Alzheimer’s patients by bringing them back to the present. Specially trained pups can also help alert others that an Alzheimer’s patient has wandered into harm’s way. “Pets can provide a measure of safety to people with the disease,” says Thomas Kirk, a vice president of a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

_ Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn to concentrate.

_ Patients who happen to have a medical condition of a mental illness, or those with emotional problems, share a common bond when a cat or dog enters the room. Instead of reacting negatively to one another, the cat or dog boosts morale and fosters a positive environment.

_ Pets are an antidote to depression. Life in a care facility can be boring. A visit from a therapy cat or dog breaks the daily routine and stimulates interest in the world outside.

_ Pets provide social interaction. In a health care facility, people come out of their rooms to socialize with the animals and with each other.

_ Everyone has the need to touch. Many humans are uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers, even those close to them. Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug. But rubbing the fur of a cat or dog can provide a stimulation that they sorely lack. The nonverbal connection is invaluable in the healing process.

_ Pets are a source of expectation, hope and communication. Looking forward to a social call or getting home after time away gives that spark of anticipation all humans need to help feel alive. Pets can help start a conversation, and help one who is struggling against unusual difficulties in learning to speak for the first time or after a speech impairment such as a stroke.

Pets have proven to be very helpful in helping victims of abuse or sexual assault to heal as well.

Professionals in the field of pet-assisted therapy find that in addition to cats and dogs, fish, pot-bellied pigs, birds, reptiles, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, horses and llamas are also valuable healers. They have also found pets lower blood pressure and stress levels, give the patient a reason to interact, offer a chance to exercise and a sense of security and/or intimacy, allow communication, and offer continuity in life.

Studies report that children who live in homes in which a pet is considered a member of the family are more empathetic than children in homes without pets. As children get older, their ability to empathize with animals will carry over into their experiences with people.

Finding the right pet for you to fit your circumstances including your ability to properly care for them is the key. In return for proper care your pet will unconditionally love you. The bond you will build with your pet will be very rewarding.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/helped-by-your-pet/


Related

https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2017/03/07/family-pets-boost-child-development/

VA resources and support during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 31, 2020

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and beyond, VA encourages Veterans, their partners, and VA staff members to check out resources and services related to intimate partner violence (IPV).

IPV encompasses physical or sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression by a current or former intimate partner. These behaviors occur at various frequencies and levels of severity, ranging from one episode that may or may not have a lasting impact to chronic and severe episodes over a period of years. While all couples have disagreements, the use of name-calling, put-downs, physical aggression, threats, and controlling behaviors are not healthy.

Research shows that each minute of every day, 24 Americans experience IPV. The need for resources and support may be even more paramount among Veterans, as some studies show that up to 70% of women Veterans who receive care at VA have experienced IPV. If you or someone you know is impacted by IPV, there are steps you can take to enhance the safety, emotional and physical well-being of those affected.

Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program

If you are affected by IPV, you are not alone – and help is available. VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) provides a comprehensive network of services to Veterans, their families and caregivers, and VA employees who experience or engage in IPV. The program offers counseling, toolkits, fact sheets and tools for assessing relationships and health safety.

We know that VA understands and recognizes the unique stressors and experiences that Veterans and their families may face, and the lasting negative impact that IPV can have on overall health and well-being. IPVAP values and promotes safe, healthy relationships while standing ready to assist with safety planning and intervention. It is easy to find a local coordinator to find out more about local programs and services.

Homelessness and Intimate Partner Violence

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Grant and Per Diem (GPD), and Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Contract Residential Services (CRS) programs offered through VA’s homeless programs can help those affected by IPV who are in need of housing and fleeing domestic violence.

Veterans who lose their housing when fleeing domestic violence are eligible for all four programs. SSVF rapid rehousing and HUD-VASH are both designed to help Veterans and their families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness quickly access permanent housing. The GPD and HCHV CRS programs provide temporary housing and supportive services to help Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness achieve residential stability, increase their job skills and incomes, and achieve greater self-determination.

VA’s Homeless Programs Office is also promoting the development of pilots of innovative practices to implement universal screenings for IPV and relationship health with Veterans in VHA specialty homeless programs.

COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence

Relationship conflict and/or abuse may occur and escalate during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. While social distancing may prevent the spread of COVID-19, those who live with a partner who uses violence may feel less safe at home than they would outside of their home. Preventive measures to control COVID-19 may also limit their access to IPV resources and support, such as courthouses, health care facilities, childcare, and public transportation.

In response to COVID-19 and its potential impact on IPV, VA IPVAP launched a campaign to address the unique circumstances of those who are at heightened risk. Watch the COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence video for more information about the impact of COVID-19 on IPV and ways to maintain relationship safety.

More Information

LeAnn E. Bruce, PhD, LCSW, is the national program manager for VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program.

Study: Religious Practice Drastically Reduces ‘Deaths from Despair’

Faithful pray during a meeting with Pope Francis on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the Catholic Church's biggest missionary movement, in Rome's Tor Vergata neighborhood, Saturday, May 5, 2018. Pope Francis is urging the missionary movement to respect different cultures and not try …

THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.  12 May 2020

Frequent attendance at religious services dramatically reduces deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs, according to study by researchers from Harvard University.

The study, spearheaded by Dr. Ying Chen of the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, found that “attendance at religious services at least once per week” was associated with a 33 percent lower hazard among men and a remarkable 68 percent lower hazard of death from despair among women compared with never attendance.

The researchers embarked on their study because the increase in deaths related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide (referred to as “deaths from despair”) has been identified as a public health crisis and yet the antecedents associated with these deaths have “seldom been investigated empirically.”

As the most extensive study of its kind, the team followed a large cohort of more than 100,000 nurses and health care professionals in the United States over a 17-year period and finally published their results on May 6.

Employing a definition of “deaths from despair” as “deaths from suicide, unintentional poisoning by alcohol or drug overdose, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis,” the team followed 66,492 female participants, among whom 75 incident deaths from despair were identified, and 43,141 male participants, among whom there were 306 incident deaths from despair.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that “religious service attendance is associated with a lower risk of death from despair among health care professionals. These results may be important in understanding trends in deaths from despair in the general population.”

The Harvard study seems to corroborate the results of similar studies linking religious practice with mental health.

In a 2015 article in the Psychiatric Times, for instance, Drs. Rob Whitley and Eric Jarvis insisted that tapping into religious faith is important for assisting patients in their recovery.

“Religiosity has consistently been identified as a factor that can promote healing and facilitate recovery amongst those with various physical and mental illnesses,” the authors observed.

Whitley and Jarvis noted that the research in this area reveals that belonging to a religious community can furnish needed support during material, ethical, and emotional challenges in a person’s life.

The authors also noted that research indicates that religiously inclined patients engage in many activities that are beneficial to their mental health, including prayer, devotional readings, listening to spiritual music, and listening to sermons on TV, the internet, or the radio.

Such practices “can also involve public activities, which are more social in orientation, such as going to a place of worship or attending a sacred-text study group,” the authors noted. “All of these activities can foster a sense of coherence and social support that is health-promoting and may be encouraged.”

Given the vital ties between religious practice and good mental health, it may be considered surprising that during the coronavirus pandemic, many governments categorized church services as non-essential activities that could easily be set aside, whereas tobacconists, newspaper stands, and abortion clinics were allowed to remain open for regular business.

https://www.breitbart.com/health/2020/05/12/study-religious-practice-drastically-reduces-deaths-from-despair/

How Does Death Rule Over Us?

December 9, 2019 hepsibahgarden

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Psalms‬ ‭119:77‬

We need GOD’S TENDER MERCIES TO LIVE CONTINUALLY.

He did not call us to death. Rather, God called us forth from death and brought us into Life so that we may live eternally. We need to always keep “sin” in a dead state, and to do this we need God’s mercy. What does keeping sin in a dead state mean? It means to forsake the works of death immediately in our lives.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans‬ ‭6:23‬

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians‬ ‭5:19-21‬

To be carnally/fleshly minded is death, therefore this also needs to be kept in a dead state. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

If we hate our brethren, he is a murderer. The Scriptures says there is no eternal life for such a person. Where there is no Life, there death is present. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John‬ ‭3:15‬.

For mercy to remain upon us, we must perfect our works before God. If not, we are good as dead to Him. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation‬ ‭3:1-2‬

If we aren’t found in the first love, we are in a dead state. Falling away from First Love is referred to being asleepHence St.Paul writes, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians‬ ‭5:14‬.

If we are not in the Spirit, we are in God’s sight dead. This was why God asked prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind looking at the Valley of Bones. When the prophet did so, breath came into them and in no time the Valley of Dead Bones revived into an exceeding great army.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Ezekiel‬ ‭37:7-10‬. May God help us to preserve His mercies in our lives!

Be blessed 💕

Original here

VIDEO A Christmas Story

December 7, 2019   By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

 

 

The Christmas Story is story of a hero. The greatest evil the world has ever known made the greatest hero the world has ever known. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of torture and execution man devised or used.

Not every hero since has given up his life for another. Heroes generally take no concern for their own life while trying to save the lives of others.

The acknowledgement and veneration of heroes has existed for centuries. It was the ancient Greeks who are accredited with first coining the designation.

A very recent tragedy brought to light another hero.  A young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, is a hero after he reportedly related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, a family member revealed.

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who were killed Friday morning when Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a flight training program for foreign military personnel, Adam Watson revealed in a Facebook post. (1)

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who was killed Friday morning.

“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. When we were little I gave Kaleb the name little poot and it stuck. It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot. Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. “(2)

Simply put, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.

Philip Zimbardo: What Makes a Hero?

 

Christians who helped Jews during the Holocaust were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. People choose one path or the other.

Some choose a path to meet the needs of others. For example there is New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will use his custom-made “My Cause, My Cleats” cleats to bring attention to his One More Foundation. H e created the One More Thing Foundation to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul.

“And, we do that by following the three charges that are given in Micah 6:8 when it talks about doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with our God,” he explained.

Watson said that, for the last decade, the foundation has given him the opportunity to meet people with “real needs” and “to know the one who can meet their needs forever and ever.”

“Whether it’s promoting and giving food to those who are hungry, doing events around the holidays, promoting education, standing against injustice — whether that be sex trafficking, abortion, or racial injustice … and also, just bringing kindness to people,” he continued. (3)

Courtesy of Eric J. Adler and the New England Patriots

Heroes | Restoring Faith in Humanity | 2017

 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player.

There have been thousands of unnamed and unknown heroes over the centuries. Heroes include those who stood ready, who fought and who died for the cause of freedom, first responders, those who served others, and the many that have helped someone without regard to their personal safety,

The true Christmas Story is an everyday story.

The real reason for the season was born to die and save us all.

——-

(1) https://www.foxnews.com/us/naval-academy-grad-shot-5-times-hero

(2)  https://www.facebook.com/adam.watson.397/posts/3471855006187806

(3)  https://www.foxnews.com/media/patriots-benjamin-watson-one-more-foundation-my-cause-my-cleats

——-

Below are a handful of links to heroes

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2019/11/14/sons-american-revolution-honor-first-responders-heroic-acts/4193217002/

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/08/05/soldier-praised-for-heroic-act-at-el-paso-shooting-what-i-did-was-what-i-was-supposed-to-do/23788523/

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2019/09/17/hero-westchester-cops-honored/2354177001/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bradley-plane-crash-heroic-acts-saved-lives-in-deadly-b-17-bomber-crash-official-says/

https://www.usla.org/page/HEROIC

https://publicholidays.la/anguilla/national-heroes-and-heroines-day/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/a-christmas-story/