by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/may-is-mental-health-month">May is Mental Health Month!</a></h1>

Mental Health Resources:

Caring for Your Mind and Body

We all know about the importance about taking care of our health—eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising. Healthy habits positively influence how a person feels and how their body functions.

But good health involves not only caring for our body, but also our mind.

The fact is our mental health is integral to our overall health. Far too many Americans fail to incorporate a principal component into their health choices. Yet overall health and wellness are not possible without it.

What is mental health? If you were to ask your office mate, spouse or neighbor, they may respond that it is a “state of mind,” “being content with life” or “feeling good about yourself.”  Simply put, mental health is the ability to cope with daily life and the challenges it brings.

When a person has “good” mental health, they deal better with what comes their way. By contrast, “poor” mental health—such as feeling overwhelmed by stress —can make even day-to-day life difficult.

Poor mental health can also significantly harm a person’s physical health. For instance, research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. It also shows that people who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illnesses.

The good news is there are many healthy choices and steps that individuals can adopt to promote and strengthen mental health—and overall health and well-being.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions.

This May is Mental Health Month. Episcopal Health Ministries is raising awareness of the role mental health plays in our lives. We are partnering with Mental Health America to provide tips and resources so anyone can take steps to promote good mental health.

These include building social support, eating with your mental health in mind, recognizing the signs of stress, and knowing when to reach out for help.

Just as Americans have learned there are things they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and other illnesses, Episcopal Health Ministries wants to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health in tough times and also to improve their mental well-being throughout their lives.

We need to care for both our body and mind.

Lord Jesus Christ, you ministered to all who came to you.  Look with compassion upon all who have lost their health and freedom through mental dysfunction.  Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy.  Remove the anxiety and loneliness that besets them.  Strengthen them as they seek balance and continuity.  For those who care about making God’s worship available to all, including those with mental dysfunction, give them patient understanding, courage to act with compassion and persevering love.  All this we ask for your mercy’s sake.  Amen.

-Diocese of Virginia Mental Health Committee

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

You need some music to get you in the mood! Listen to this:

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/remarks-at-moms-demand-action-for-gun-sense-in-america-press-conference">Remarks at Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America Press Conference</a></h1>

As an active member of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, I was put in touch with the leaders of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and invited to speak at their press conference. I was one of six speakers; others included victims and parents of shootings, including parents from Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO. This press conference was held in response to the National Rifle Association's convention in Indianapolis this weekend. 

Good morning. My name is Matthew Ellis and I serve as the CEO of Episcopal Health Ministries, right here in Indianapolis. I am also a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

I am here to join my voice with the many others calling for sensible reforms to end gun violence in our communities. I am not the only one in the faith community that believes we need to solve this problem. For instance, people of all faiths observed the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend last month, which was coordinated by Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. 

Our familiarity with this issue dates back decades. The Episcopal Church has formally advocated for sensible gun legislation since at least 1976, when our church called on Congress to adopt effective gun legislation. We have continued to call on others to take steps to reduce gun violence while working in our communities to reduce the factors that lead to violence.

Unfortunately, the call for sensible gun legislation has largely been ignored by our legislators. We know that there are simple, common sense measures that will save lives and that are supported by the vast majority of the public.  We all know 90% of Americans support background checks, because they don’t infringe on Second Amendment rights, but they also can keep guns out of dangerous hands.

The Episcopal Church in particular knows firsthand of the devastating impact of gun violence. On May 2 of 2012 a homeless man entered a church in Ellicott City, Maryland and shot and killed a priest and church secretary. He later killed himself as well. That day had a traumatic impact in our community – but knowing similar episodes take place all across this country every single day is equally as traumatic.  Eighty six people are killed every single day with guns in our country.

I recently attended a conference in Oklahoma devoted to the Episcopal Church’s response to gun violence. In his opening remarks, Bishop Ed Konieczny said:

“We are here to have a new conversation; a conversation that says we are not willing to accept that violence is a natural part of society; a conversation that acknowledges we live in relationship; and that we are all responsible for how we treat one another; a conversation that talks about how each of us can make a difference; about how each one of us can change the trajectory of violence in our world; A conversation that recognizes and honors the diversity of voices and perspectives and passions.”

My hope is that all people of faith will join us in this conversation and make their voices heard as we continue to advocate for sensible gun legislation. Thank you.

This new TV ad was unveiled during the press conference, along with the report "Not Your Grandparents' NRA'. 

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/friday-roundup-042514">Friday Roundup</a></h1>

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet from NPR
You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs. But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

3 Reasons Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move!' Program Is Fun for Kids by The Stir by Cafe Mom
Yesterday I was part of a group of 7 Kid Reporters who met with First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll. We met in the White House library to talk about the program she started four years ago called Let's Move and how kids can stay healthy. As a kid, there are a lot of reasons I like this program.

Vaccines work — they've nearly wiped out these four diseases by Vox
So far, we've used vaccines to entirely wipe out two diseases: smallpox and rinderpest, which infects cattle. We've also come extremely close to eradicating polio, with less than 500 new cases annually, all in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Happy 100th, Wrigley Field: An Iconic Ballpark Through the Years from Mashable
On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Wrigley Field — home of the Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs — turns 100 years old, making it the second-oldest ballpark in the U.S., behind Boston's Fenway Park. Like Fenway, Wrigley has become a site of tremendous sentimental value to baseball fans, a brick-and-mortar incarnation of the game itself.

Snoopy, Garfield And Friends Go Bald For Kids With Cancer from NPR
It's not easy having cancer, especially when you're a kid. And it's even harder when that bald chemo head tells the whole world that you're sick. So Garfield, Hello Kitty and the fine-feathered cast of the movie Rio 2 are going bald, too.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/national-prescription-drug-take-back-day-is-saturday">National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday!</a></h1>

More than four in 10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parent’s medicine cabinet. This weekend, you have an opportunity to keep your kids safe and do your part to curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic.  

Join us and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this Saturday, April 26th for the DEA’s eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an opportunity for people all over the country to safely and properly dispose of their prescription drugs. Through previous DEA Take-Back Day events, over 3.4 million pounds of medication have been removed from circulation and kept out of kids’ hands.

With thousands of disposal locations set up around the country, dropping off your pills is easy and could save lives. Join us and the DEA this Saturday.

Need help? Call the Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)