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Mental Health Month Aims to Grow Awareness, Dispel Stigmas

Mind, Body and Spirit Are Inextricably Linked in Mental Health

Philadelphia, PA—Mental health issues affect millions of adults and children in America, along with countless others when spouses, families, friends and co-workers are considered.

May is Mental Health Month, and this year, organizers are focusing on the relationship between mind and body, but based on my personal and professional experience, we are leaving out the most crucial component—the spirit.

A healthy mental state, whether dealing with depression, addictions, eating disorders or a multitude of other issues certainly involves every part of the human being—the mind, body and spirit. To be healthy mentally, we must also nurture our bodies and feed our spirits. When Lighthouse recommends counseling or therapy, we always strive to make sure the entire person is being treated, looking at health from a three-pronged view.

In my Stepping Stones Daily Devotionals, I regularly stress the powerful importance our interaction with God and applying His spiritual wisdom and truths has on our mental, physical and spiritual health.

As we pursue our relationship with God and draw closer to Him, joy is one characteristic that should become more evident in our lives. Christianity is joyful. And joy is good for your health—physically, psychologically, relationally, emotionally and spiritually. During difficult times, we might not always have laughter, but God provides joy in all of our circumstances.

For the past 65 years, Mental Health America and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of May as Mental Health Month. The theme for 2014 is “Mind Your Health” in an effort to tie mental health with physical health and educate the public about ways the mind and body interact.

According to the National Institutes for Health, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year; about 6 percent, or 1 in 17, suffer from a serious mental illness. Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada, and many suffer from more than one mental disorder.

Mood disorders affect nearly 21 million adults, with bipolar disorder affecting about 5.7 million Americans annually. Another 2.4 million adults have schizophrenia and more than 40 million adults have an anxiety disorder—frequently occurring with depressive disorders or substance abuse. Approximately 6 million adults have a panic disorder, and 2.2 million struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. About 7.7 million adults experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychological (Mental) and physical health is powerfully aided when we live life according to our Creator’s instructions (BIBLE) and we access divine power from the Holy Spirit when we are in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. So don’t ignore the spiritual sphere as you pursue health, joy, fulfillment and your God-given potential.

karl-benzio-1Dr. Karl Benzio MD, Christian Psychiatrist, writer, speaker, media guest expert, social issue activist, and the founder and clinical director of Lighthouse Network. Benzio brings scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s storms. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students about counseling, leadership, parenting, marriage, and conflict resolution skills in traumatized areas like Uganda, Kenya and post-Hussein Iraq. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council, the Pennsylvania Director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics, and serves on many other social policy task forces. His specialties include adolescents, addictions, decision-making and infusing spirituality into treatment. Benzio shares psycho-spiritual insights via his Stepping Stones daily devotional, on his one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” on 425 Christian radio stations and on iDisciple.org.

Email: KBenzio@LighthouseNetwork.org

Twitter: @drkarlb