Mental Health Moments

In April 2019, NCC held a listening session on mental health and the church. Many expressed the need for education, support, and resources related to mental health issues. As a result of the feedback, a Mental Health Taskforce was created to work on how to best address these needs at NCC. One way we are going to bring light to mental health issues is through a “Mental Health Moment” in the Sunday Update and Friday's eBlast. We will share information on various mental health issues, provide education, and keep you updated. If you would like more information or support on any of these topics, please contact the church office 724.935.0909. Also, you can access more information here about counseling services.


PA 2-1-1 Southwest

24-hour helpline for everyday needs and crisis situations

Phone: dial 2-1-1 or 1-855-567-5341

http://pa211sw.org/

Let's Talk About Mental Health

The Mental Health Team is continually looking to make efforts to overcome the stigma of mental illness. We thought it would be encouraging to hear from some of our very own people here at NCC. We appreciate Matt Mason, Joel Friend, and Gina Bolton taking the time and being vulnerable in sharing their perspectives on this significant topic. 

Don't miss this three-part series.

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Dealing with Isolation Due to COVID-19

This time of social distancing, isolation, and quarantine is taking a toll on us all. Many people are dealing with fear, worry, and anxiety over the virus, loss of income, boredom, concerns about the future, and many other issues. While we can’t predict what will happen in the coming days and weeks ahead, we can make some suggestions for how to deal with the situation at hand:

  • Take breaks from the news. Constant exposure to the news can be unsettling and upsetting. A good rule may be to check the news two times per day rather than focusing on minute-by-minute notifications.
  • Take care of your body. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly. Healthy habits are both physically and mentally beneficial.
  • Take time to participate in enjoyable activities like cooking, gardening, reading, drawing, painting, etc. Studies show that working with your hands is mentally restorative.
  • Practice gratitude. Each day make a habit of identifying at least one thing for which you’re grateful. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to review when feeling stressed.
  • Connect with other people. Calling, texting, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom are all great ways to connect with people outside your home. Staying connected to loved ones is critical to your mental and emotional health.
  • Connect to God. Praying, reading, and meditating on Scripture, participating in our Live Stream Sunday services, daily devotions, and weekly prayer times are all great ways to connect with the Lord and harness the peace He promises.

We’re all in this together. If you need to talk to someone about feelings of loneliness, isolation or fear, please contact the church office at 724-935-0909 and leave a message. A pastor would be happy to talk with you or refer you to a mental health professional to help.

Maintaining Healthy Habits During Covid-19

While dealing with the “stay-home” mandates due to Covid-19, many of us are struggling to find a new “normal.” According to Mental Health Professionals, there are certain things you can do to ensure better mental health amid this crisis.

 

Maintain Connections

Maintaining connections with the family in your home and reaching out to friends and family outside of your home can make you feel more grounded and less alone. For people in your home, share physical touch throughout the day. A back rub, hug, kiss on the cheek are all great ways to release oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel safe and loved. For people outside your home, call, text, FaceTime or other social media platforms are good ways to stay in touch. Talking and laughing with a friend will help mitigate the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.

 

Establish Structure

When disruptions occur to our regular schedule and routine, we can feel uncertain and out-of-control. In this time of crisis, it’s more important than ever to establish a rhythm to your day. Wake up at the same time, eat at regular intervals, schedule in time for exercise, work and fun activities. Structure brings feelings of safety and predictability to our lives. Asking for accountability to maintain your new schedule can help you stick to your plan.

 

We’re all feeling unsettled in these times. Don’t ignore or suppress the feelings you may be experiencing. Allow them to come and ask yourself, “What’s the healthiest thing I can do right now?”  

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Understanding Depression

Did you know over 300 million people experience depression worldwide? Often, we think of depression as feeling “sad” or “down” and we wonder why someone can’t just snap out of it. However, it is much more complicated than just feeling sad. Depression is a common and serious medical illness that impacts the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. Depression causes a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It can decrease a person’s ability to function at home and work. An estimated 17 million Americans struggle with depression each year. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression is impacting many people within our communities, churches, and families. Understanding depression is an important part of being able to support those going through it. 

Anxiety Awareness

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue worldwide. In the United States, over 40 million adults experience anxiety disorders each year. Occasional feelings of fear or worry are familiar to most of us. In fact, anxiety is a normal physical reaction to stress or danger. However, anxiety becomes a concern when it is there all the time, or it becomes so intense it interferes with a person's daily life. This type of anxiety often causes emotional symptoms like feeling intense worry, fear, or stress and may cause a person to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger these feelings. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms related to things like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. Understanding anxiety is an important part of being able to support the many people living with it. 

Bipolar Disorder Basics

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, affects 2.8% of the U.S. adult population. It is a mental health condition that involves extreme mood swings with emotional highs (called mania and hypomania) and lows (called depression). Emotional lows may cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. Emotional highs may involve feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and unusual irritability. If left untreated, symptoms can be severe and impact sleep, energy, judgment, and behavior. Fortunately, bipolar disorder can be treated through medication management and therapy. Increasing awareness and understanding is important in supporting those living with bipolar disorder. 

Autism Awareness

April is World Autism Awareness Month. Currently, there are more than 3.5 million Americans living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It occurs in 1 in every 59 births and is more common in boys than girls. Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disorder that usually appears during early childhood. Autism is known as a “spectrum condition” meaning it affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. The key characteristics of Autism include differences related to social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and non-verbal communication. Increasing awareness about Autism is an important part of supporting the individuals and families living with it daily.