Monday, October 6, 2014

Great Talk on Mental Illness

On Friday I happened to attend the college youth meeting at East Brunswick and Mena Mirhom, a psychiatrist, gave a really good talk on mental illness.

He gave a really useful way of evaluating negative circumstances in one's life.  If you are going through a rough time, or if a friend of your's is going through a rough time and seeks your advice, the source of the problem is most likely one of three things:
1) It could just be a temporary situation, just a rough patch that will soon pass.
2) It's underlying cause could be a sin, perhaps you are unknowingly bringing it upon yourself by a bad habit/way of thinking, or not taking care of your spiritual life.
3) It could be indicative of an actual mental illness.

Throughout the ages the subject of mental illness has always been a touchy subject because the mind is ethereal.  We know we are both material and spiritual beings, but how does the material interact with the spiritual?  Though this seems to be an aspect of human nature that God has hidden from us, we as Copts luckily have both a solid spiritual foundation in God and in science and medicine.  Mena therefore stressed that medicine is a gift God has given us, that the stigma against mental illness is a grave problem that needs to be openly addressed, that mental illness is actually much better studied and understood than we realize, and that being wary of this potential struggle someone may have is  part of truly helping one another as a body of Christ.

Pinpointing which of these three sources is the cause of the trouble is the means to giving sound advice.  And giving sound advice is not to be taken lightly: the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it's not simply the thought that counts, because bad advice, especially in spiritual matters, truly has its consequences.

The link to a recording of his talk is on his blog:

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