Anxiety, sadness, and loss are inescapable elements of the human experience. However, what happens when emotional struggles linger well beyond an occasional “bad day?” As certain societal stigmas diminish, the topic of mental health is one that continues to be addressed with greater openness. Orthodox Christians, of course, aren’t immune from mental disorders, and it becomes an even more necessary subject to confront as a significant percentage of children are affected.
“Tools for Promoting Mental Wellness in Orthodox Families” is a webinar presentation featuring pediatric psychologist Dr. Georgette Constantinou and Fr. Jerry Hall, both of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron, OH. They describe the integration of health services with spiritual measures to support mental wellbeing. The primary takeaway from the webinar is clear: help is available, and parents can access resources for the benefit of their children when it becomes necessary to do so.
*Parents are the primary advocates for their children and should seek to nurture a resilient spirit within them to manage the stresses of contemporary life. What are the best ways to equip your child with the coping skills to deal with inevitable challenges such as disappointment or grief?
* As beings endowed with a body and soul, the Church is concerned with the total health of all persons. What is good for the soul benefits the body and vice versa. How do you understand the Church’s role in promoting mental wellness? How can prayer, the sacraments, and pastoral guidance help the process?
*How can clergy and other youth workers promote an environment that is sensitive to mental wellness issues? What are ways for your parish to be a “community of caring,” where mental wellness is a topic that can be approached with understanding and compassion?
Link recommended by Dr. Constantinou: “Facts for Families Guide” from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: https://www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/facts_for_families/fff-guide/fff-guide-home.aspx
Georgette Constantinou, Ph.D., is the retired Administrative Director of Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. She is a Pediatric Psychologist who has maintained an active clinical practice since 1978, with specialization in chronic illness and trauma.
Fr. Jerry Hall received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1979. Filled with a strong desire to serve the Lord, he left his pharmacy career and enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He was ordained to the to the priesthood in Akron, OH, in 1988. He was was installed as the Proistamenos in 1995. Fr. Jerry and Pres. Helene have been blessed with four sons, Mark, Scott (Kira), Jerry (Laura), Luke (Sarah), and grandson Ethan.