Address depression, mental illness by serving others

Saturday , August 16, 2014 - 12:00 AM

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor,” reads the first part of Isaiah 61:1 in the New International Version of the Bible.

I believe this sentence sums up our journey here on Earth.

How often is it said that the more we live for others, the better our life will be?

I believe this verse also explains why suicide hurts the survivors so deeply. I have watched this too much lately.

As we realize the desperation of the brokenhearted to free themselves of their pain, we ask ourselves what we could have done differently to help them.

I believe the best message we can take from these tragedies is to serve one another more fervently in the days to come.

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners,” reads the rest of that verse.

The next verses are a continuation of that sentence: “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

“Look inside yourself, look for the good in others, choose your words wisely!” was the advice of Jesse Foote of Ogden on this subject of helping others find the inner strength they need.

“I think I have come to find that anything — love, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our spirits can and only will survive and/or grow when we feed them,” said Dawn Lesley Fielding of West Haven.

“I know I have failed to feed my spirit for some time now, and it is catching up with me and I’ve paid a price. Everything has a price. I’ve been too caught up in what I thought was more important — taking the kids here, making more money, making sure things continue to go the way I want them to or think they should go.”

Fielding went on to say that she was wrong.

“Sit back. Feed your spirit and nurture your soul, whether that be through simply breathing in fresh air, prayer, reading, studying, spending time in nature, or whatever it is that feeds your soul — do it. Now. Don’t wait until it is tomorrow.”

My friend Tina Kirkham of Clearfield said she has noticed that creative people seem to struggle with depression and mental illness a great deal.

Kirkham is one who studies trends in spirituality and she said she believes more people are suffering these days.

“What has helped me has been telling my story,” Kirkham said. “I urge people to listen to the stories of those who struggle and who may benefit most from a listening ear.”

I met with Cary Moss, who is the facilitator for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) classes held at the Weber Morgan Health Department.

He handed me a sheet that listed 12 principles of support for those with mental illnesses. If we all remember these, I believe we will be able to help those in need.

The principles are:

• We will see the individual first, not the illness.

• We recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses, they may have environmental triggers.

• We understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events.

• We aim for better coping skills.

• We find strength in sharing experiences.

• We reject stigma and do not tolerate discrimination.

• We won’t judge anyone’s pain as less than our own.

• We forgive ourselves and reject guilt.

• We embrace humor as healthy.

• We accept we cannot solve all problems.

• We expect a better future in a realistic way.

• We will never give up hope.

My hope is that in the days that come that all of us will love a little deeper and search a little harder for the causes of each others’ pain and suffering.

Let’s take away the burdens of those with the heavy loads of mental illness by accepting them, letting them be themselves and serving where we can.

If we do our job of living as an authentic human being correctly, no one should need to feel that all their hope is gone.

You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at

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