Faith Child – Help! here is one in jeopardy

Jeopardy is exposure to or imminence of death, loss, or injury : danger.

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of “jeopardy”):

health hazard (hazard to the health of those exposed to it)

moral hazard ((economics) the lack of any incentive to guard against a risk when you are protected against it (as by insurance))

occupational hazard (any condition of a job that can result in illness or injury)

sword of Damocles (a constant and imminent peril)

Jeopardy could mean anyone being on the verge of terrible personal instability,  of mental breakdown,  those with schizophrenic tendencies who are alright at a point in time but could be in jeopardy in  the very next moment and those who suffer from post traumatic symptoms.

Many are the families who have to live with persons in jeopardy and they bear the brunt and suffer the many negative consequences of emotional pain and physical danger for themselves and the  rest of the loved ones.

Extracts from    by Ian Morrison

I was aware that some psychiatrists considered religious beliefs to be a form of mental illness, and I also knew that mental illness sometimes evidenced itself in a patient’s religious delusions. I discovered patients who were  trapped within themselves, unable to find the resources to survive, often unable to communicate effectively with others and thus unable to integrate with societal norms. They were therefore open to being labelled as a category of person to be avoided – the modern day equivalent of biblical outcasts. But while the world may consider them different, the Christian response should be to include the mentally ill in the Christian community of hope. My experience was that some of my patients had a lot to teach me about what it means to be truly human.

Suffering in the context of mental health is uniquely formed of many layers and many levels, often challenging personal meaning systems. It is here that lines of multiple social and individual deprivation intersect. Outside the criminal justice system, poor mental health is the major symbol of exclusion in our society. Being a whole person implies having physical, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions – undivided and interwoven so that the dimensions cannot be treated separately as the psychiatric discourse may seek to do. Ignoring any of these aspects of humanity may leave patients feeling incomplete and may even interfere with healing

I wondered what wholeness meant for the mentally ill.
For many there will be no cure, no casting out of the demons and return to ‘normality’ (if
such a state can be defined). Rather, their hope may be to reach some stability through
medication which allows them some basic human functions and limited interaction with
others. Yet I found that many of those I encountered, despite having difficulty with day-to
day-interaction, had a belief system that provided life-sustaining meaning. It has been
suggested that mental illness may provide a ‘wake-up call’ to a spiritual life, in that
spirituality becomes more important to patients when they become mentally ill. Issues
such as ‘What is my purpose in life?’ and ‘Why does God let bad things happen?’ come to
the surface; it has been further suggested that the development of mental illness has
prompted some patients to embark on a spiritual journey that was personally relevant and

These issues, then, relate to potential interactions about God between patients and their
carers. Many psychiatric inpatients have reported the importance of spiritual issues to them but do not have the opportunity to talk to anyone about those issues. Some have
expressed reservations about such a discussion, concerned that the mental health
professionals may not accept their beliefs and experiences, or that these beliefs would be
judged as symptoms of mental illness   and delusion. Some acknowledged that their
spiritual beliefs did not disappear if they felt health workers would interpret them as
psychosis: patients merely chose not to disclose the issue further. One option is the
provision of a pastoral carer or chaplain for inpatients, someone that patients associate with the allied health team rather than the medical team. Those who are most comfortable with their own spirituality are also likely to be most comfortable with addressing the spirituality of their patients.

I was amazed at the openness of many patients to the need for prayer to assist them in their  predicament. Patients openly asked for it, and literally queued up to see me as I was  recognised as a person of prayer  The ‘simple act of turning one’s mind and heart to the sacred’  is a powerful form of coping – a communication or conversation with a power that is recognised as divine. Group prayer may be associated with greater well-being and happiness, solitary prayer with isolation and depression, although I found that most patients preferred individual prayer. I gave them an opportunity of saying what they would like to pray for and many stated afterwards that they felt better having had the opportunity to pray. This experience was  church for these patients. Unable to interact socially in a social church setting, they were open to the interaction with God that prayer provides and were able to acknowledge the effect it had on them.

The appropriate strategy is to convey to the patient a willingness to listen carefully to their beliefs without judgement and without the desire to insist that the patient’s beliefs be different from what they are (so as not to be seen as imposing one’s views on the patient.)  Additionally, the use of discussion groups where non-acute psychotic patients can discuss spiritual issues of concern to them would also allow the expression of views in a nonthreatening environment.  I  conducted a weekly ‘Spirituality Discussion Group with Ian’. Most discussions centred  around why bad things happen to people and how we might view God as a source of hope  for the future through what Jesus Christ has done for us rather than seeing illness as some  form of personal judgement against the patient. Understanding that the Triune God suffered on the Cross, that God does not leave them in this place but accompanies them as the true pastoral carer in a place which is not of their choosing, is the comfort and basis for hope in this dark place. As a pastoral carer, my role was to point to the one who does the pastoral care, the Triune God, who provides sustaining love and care through all those who tend to these patients.

Rather than seeing pastoral care as a separate need of mentally ill patients, I would prefer to embrace all care as pastoral – the journey to wholeness involving medical, social and
personal aspects. In this sense, all carers are contributing to God’s desire to bring his creation to the fullness of its being. Spirituality should not be segmented as if it were a separate element. The whole of life is embraced in who God is and all carers are doing God’s work (whether conscious of it or not) by participating in the life which God gives us through Christ. Medical knowledge and resources are but one gift from God which enables us to be more human.

Various approaches to religious coping with adversity  have been identified. The
collaborative style reflects the joint responsibility for problem solving by God and the
individual, while the deferring style implies placing all responsibility for problem solving on God whilst passively waiting to receive solutions. Coping strategies which involve  collaboration with God have been seen as the most consistent with an active pursuit of  recovery and an empowered stance, whereas exclusive  reliance on one’s own coping  resources may be a detriment to recovery.Rather than being passive coping strategies,  religious faith and service participation are associated with a higher sense of personal  empowerment and greater adherence to various components of recovery .Clearly, though, the approach to a patient’s care needs to be holistic, treating patients as beings who are more than the sum of their parts. If we are all made in the likeness and image of God, then the hope of wholeness must be open to us all, not just those who can be ‘cured’. The whole of life is embraced in who God is and the hope which Jesus Christ gives us for the future. Pointing to that hope is the pastoral carer’s role and the psychiatric patients that I visited showed that, despite their personal difficulties, they were able to gain access to that hope through prayer and the ministry of accompaniment offered by a pastoral carer.

Support Groups

A support group is a small group of people with a particular condition, such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, who meet regularly to discuss their their experiences, their problems and their strategies for coping. Some support groups meet online.

What are the benefits?

Research shows that hearing from and sharing with others with similar experiences can be very helpful. A support group can provide the following gains:

  • show you that you are not alone
  • help develop new skills in relating to others
  • permit you to ‘open up’ and discuss your situation and feelings
  • give practical skills and advice – such as how to draw up and stick to a treatment plan
  • provide new coping strategies – share your solutions and learn from others’ experience
  • offer a safe place to sound off about frustrations of living with a disorder
  • supply strategies for managing any stigma associated with your disorder
  • strengthen motivation to stick with a treatment plan.

Support groups for family and friends

Family members/friends can also benefit from their own support group:

  • they learn more about the disorder and become more constructively involved in recovery
  • they hear of new strategies for coping, reducing stress and getting community resources
  • they gain increased appreciation of the importance of sticking with a treatment plan.

Brothers and sister in Christ, there are many of our families, friends, relatives and associates who need help which we can give. It is what are we going to do, when and how? It is not shall we? It is if the Lord leads we must help and be there to lend a listening ear to patient and carers. Give a much needed break to carers or just be there as an extra pair of hands and feet or perhaps initiating financial help in the form of collections at church or even the raising of funds for treatment or carers.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.For even Christ did not please himselfbut, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a] For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15: 1-5

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Response: Dear Father, you have made us in your image. But many among us are not in a position to reflect the wholeness of your image. I pray that you will help me be sensitive to the needs all around especially those who are weaker than myself. Help me to support  those who are weak and their carers in the love of Jesus, by spending time patiently with them and to try to understand to build them up. You are the only One who understands them because You look on their hearts. So help me with understanding of the plight of those in jeopardy.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

About ptl2010

Jesus Christ is coming soon
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE WORD, CHRISTIAN TAGALOG BLOGS, CHRISTIAN TEENS BLOGS, FAITH CHILD, SHARING STRUGGLES , Shaping Spiritual Solutions! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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