While listening to a talk during an Area Conference with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, I was reminded of his talk in the 2013 October General Conference. That talk was a life changing moment for me and I was moved by the Spirit to open my heart to the world of mental sickness and emotional disorder. So, when Sister Vernoni Dulalia spoke of the Church initiative to help address the stigma of being mentally and emotionally challenged in this country, my heart swelled with gratitude.
The Philippines considers mental and emotional health problems to be minor, compared to other maladies. Whenever someone talks about being very sad or depressed, there is a cultural tendency to assume that the person is just acting out or seeking attention. The irony is that attention is actually needed. Filipinos are known to be resilient – strong in the face of poverty or tragedy. Maybe this is why being mentally and emotionally challenged is considered taboo. This maybe the reason people afflicted by mental or emotional conditions feel deprived of help.
The Lord is Mindful of All of His Children
The Savior’s love extends to all of His children. If you are experiencing depression or any other disorders, that does not mean He loves you less. Always remember that He gave his life for you. Yes you! That is not a small thing. The Son of God suffered and died for you. And because of His eternal love for you, you can ask Him for help. You can expect help. He can whisper peace to your soul and help make your burdens light, no matter the circumstances. He will be with you every step of the way, supporting you, even in difficult times. He is your older brother, and your light in the darkness.
Your Family and Friends Love You
You may be a family of one or a part of a huge clan, trust that the people around you know and care about you. Even if you feel that you do not matter, there are people who love and worry about you. Never fall for Satan’s lie that no one cares, because someone does. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Even if they cannot understand everything you are going through, expressing your feelings is a giant step towards healing.
Professional Help is Available
There are people who study and specialize in these matters. You can take advantage of the services they offer. Psychiatrists, psychologists, support forums, and other groups provide guidance and refuge. There are places you can go to talk to someone whose chosen mission is to understand and help. Hopeline (https://www.hopeline-nc.org/) is one place you can call and get help. You can even volunteer. The Church has also initiated a movement to help in this area (https://www.lds.org/mentalhealth?lang=eng).
The Lord’s timing is perfect because now that light is being shed on this issue, people are becoming more and more aware and willing to offer mental and emotional support. There are ways to get help. If you are struggling mentally or emotionally, reach out! Help is available. And if you know of someone who might be having trouble in this aspect, reach out! Make yourself available. We are all in this together.