Westchester County has resources specifically to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reality is that mental health issues affect all members of society in some way, shape or form. It is estimated that one in five Americans over age 18 will experience a mental health problem this year. The impact of the pandemic has shown increased prevalence of adverse mental health outcomes, substance abuse and suicidal ideation in all age groups and all races.
Misunderstandings about mental health can lead to negative attitudes that prevent people from being accepted and supported, and can make it harder for them and their families to get help and lead productive lives in their communities. There is strong evidence that close and caring relationships, supportive communities, and having a personally meaningful spirituality are all powerful factors in promoting mental health, reducing risk and facilitating healing and recovery.
The First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown is responding to this increasingly alarming concern and has recognized the call to walk side by side with our neighbors who are impacted by mental health challenges. To do so, we have just completed a mental health survey which will give us insight into the depth and diversity of this issue within our congregation and in our local community. From this understanding we will seek training to become more skillful in understanding the complexities of and provide new way of creating an environment of support and respect for those in distress or struggling with mental health challenges. This training will help build capacity within our church (and potentially our community) to offer hospitality, neighboring, sharing the journey, listening and accompany our neighbors (the 5 basic practices of companionship).
At the heart of a mental health ministry is to welcome those in distress, work towards understanding the struggle, and offer a foundation of spiritual support to promote healing and well-being. Experiencing grace and renewal of life is possible through our efforts to walk side by side with all in distress and struggling.
If you would like to join our Mental Health team please contact us at at the office.Our most recent mental health post is listed here. Other posts are listed at the bottom of this page.
Mental Health Survey Results
The Mental Health team would like to thank you for your continued support of our congregation’s pursuit to explore ways of responding to those families struggling with mental health and challenges due to life circumstances. The team’s goal continues to be increasing awareness of mental health concerns and developing ways we can increase our comfort level of being a compassionate companion to those suffering.
A brief summary of the team’s efforts since June 2020:
- Applied for and received an $8,000 grant from PC USA Presbytery to explore ways of establishing a Mental Health ministry in our congregation and community
- Partnered with Pathways to Promise (P2P) (Not-For-Profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance for congregations interested in pursuing a mental health ministry)
- Worked with P2P to develop a Mental Health Survey to assess MH issues that are present in our congregation and community
- Multiple MH awareness presentations to community groups and hosting of two church services centering on mental health awareness
The following is a summary of the results of the survey. (A copy of the full analysis is available in the following link, hard copy available in the church office). Excerpts follow from P2P analysis of our congregation’s MH survey:
- Anxiety (65%) and Depression (51%) are issues present in those lives/family responding, similarly those responding are aware of Anxiety (62%) and Depression (56%) as being present in a member of the congregation or their family. 38% of those responding felt unsure how to support families struggling and 30% were unsure of where to refer someone for treatment.
- Areas with a high degree of concern as it affects society at large include Depression (63%), Drug and Substance abuse (54%) and Anxiety (45%)
- Stressors/life circumstances that are present in the lives of those congregants that responded to the survey included Chronic or Severe Physical Health problems (46%) , Chronic or Severe Mental Health problems (30%), Friends/Family with Dementia or Alzheimer’s (28%) and Financial Distress (28%)
- Questions relating to comfort level of responding to various situations of approaching individual who appear to be homeless, intoxicated, high on drugs, asking for money all showed a high degree of discomfort (ranging from 86% to 52%)
87% responding felt Mental Health 101 would be helpful in the congregation and 55% said they would be interested in taking this training.
As part of living the commitment to FPCY’s Mental Health Ministry, we provided Mental Health 101 training for the MH Team during the month of June. The executive director from Pathways to Promise was the instructor. He provided valuable insight into various mental health issues and reminded us all how vulnerable we are to stress and anxiety. He did increase our awareness and affirmed our congregations’ commitment to grow our capacity to support recovery and mental wellness.
An opportunity will also be extended in July and August for this same training to our congregation members.
As we strive for ways to bear one another’s burdens, please join us in praying for wisdom at each step in this process. We are grateful to have teamed up with experts in the field of mental health ministry, and look forward to the knowledge we will gain through that vital resource; for it can only serve to advance our goal of extending this ministry from our congregation to our community, embracing all with compassion and love.
~Sue Caruso, Mental Health Initiative Co-Chair
Mental Health Resources
Westchester County Mental Health Association
344 Main Street, Suite 301
Mt. Kisco NY 10549
914-345-0700 x. 7303 for information and referrals
Putnam County Mental Health Association
2505 Carmel Ave, Suite 212
Brewster NY 10509
National Alliance on Mental Health
3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington VA 22203
703-524-7600 (main number)
518-462-2000 (in NYS)
Drug Crisis In Our Backyard
16 Fair Street, Carmel NY 10512
Gambler’s Anonymous (NYC, Westchester, Rockland & Surrounding Counties)
National Problem Gambling Hotline
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis Text Line (National Alliance on Mental Illness):
Text NAMI to 741-741
Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ+ Teens:
SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends)
Alternative Information Line
1-800-DONT CUT (355-8288)
Drug Crisis In Our Backyard “HopeLine”: