May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in observance, Grace Lutheran Church will host a candle lighting service in support of those challenged by mental illness, substance use disorders, and other brain disorders. The service will be held on Saturday, May 7, at 5 p.m. in the church sanctuary, which is at 131 West Gettysburg Avenue in Oak Ridge.
This is a free community event, and everyone is invited to attend. A special invitation is extended to family members, caregivers, community support organizations, and the healing professions.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 60 million American adults experience mental illness in a given year. About 13.6 million of those live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
Mental illness also affects children. One in five youth between the ages of 13-18 live with a mental health disorder. Some 13 percent of children between the ages of 8-15 have or will have a diagnosable mental illness within a given year. Lack of treatment for mental health issues in children and youth can often end tragically. Nationally, suicide is the third leading cause of death for children 10-14 years of age, and the second leading cause of death for young people 15-24. Of those who commit suicide from these age groups, some 90 percent have an underlying mental health issue.
May 7 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Please join in providing support and encouragement to those in our community as they journey toward recovery.
The service is presented by Grace Lutheran’s Mental Health Ministry.
For more information on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement on mental illness, go to www.elca.org. For information about other faith-based ministries to those challenged by mental illness or brain disorders, go to www.nami.org/namifaithnet.
For more information on the candle lighting service, call (865) 483-3787 or visit www.graceoakridge.org.
Cleva Marrow is a contributor to Oak Ridge Today.
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