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[caption id="attachment_127510" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Catholic Central Catholic Central hosts Kaiser Johnson and Libby Slater. Copyright 2017 Family Theater Productions. Used with permission. All rights reserved.[/caption]

Throughout history, the Church has looked inward, to spiritual matters, and outward, to how we deal with other people and the world at large. Since kids are often intent mostly on the present moment, learning to widen both their inner and outer focus is valuable. This week with “Catholic Central,” we take you into the human mind, through the mind of St. Paul, and out to the rest of humanity and all of nature. 

[caption id="attachment_172055" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]CC-spirituality & mental health Copyright 2020 Catholic Central. All rights reserved.[/caption]


Is There a Link Between Spirituality and Mental Health? 

Even if a person as a very strong faith, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee them perfect mental health at all times. 

Can you “pray away” mental illness? Is there hope for people who commit suicide? In “Catholic Central: Spirituality and Mental Health,” Kai and Libby discuss the Catholic Church’s teaching on mental illness, and what you can do if you find that you and others are struggling with it. 


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Diving Deeper 

  •  Have you experienced mental illness personally, or do you know someone who has? (Mental illness refers to a wide range of disorders that affect how you feel, think, and act and interfere in the ability to cope with normal demands of life.) 
  • What can we learn from the lives of saints who struggled with mental illness, such as St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), St. Ignatius of Loyola, or St. John of the Cross? How did their suffering affect their compassion for others? 
  • When a friend comes to you with concerns about mental illness, how can you help him or her? Why is saying “Cheer up,” “Just get over it,” or “Don’t worry about it,” unhelpful in conversations about depression? 


In the United States, nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness. Every person is impacted by mental illness, either personally or through a friend or family member. 

If you find that you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness, what are some things that you can do or seek out in order to feel better? These can include professional treatment, support from family and friends, and spiritual practices that will help your relationship with God grow. 

Reflection by Father Vince Kuna C.S.C. 

Not necessarily to be conflated with mental illness, some saints nevertheless have experienced a Dark Night of the Soul, a period of spiritual dryness and emptiness so profound it approaches the Crucifixion and Christ’s words from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As sorrowful as He was at the moment of Crucifixion, Jesus still offers words, prayers even, from the Cross. How might we develop a habit of daily prayer and pray even on bad days when we don’t have the desire or will to? 


Copyright 2020 Family Theater Productions