Words of wisdom from a deacon in Chicago, via Chicago Catholic: 

For more than a month, everyone in Illinois has been ordered to stay at home to prevent further spread of COVID-19. While essential workers still engage with others during work hours, most people are at home, isolated, often watching news reports about troubling times and uncertain futures.

This time of upheaval can create anxiety and depression for people who usually don’t struggle with any kind of mental illness. For that group, wisdom can be found among those who, for many years, have worked to help people struggling with their mental health.

One of those veterans is Deacon Tom Lambert at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, 708 W. Belmont Ave., who is co-chair of the Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness. A father of four daughters, Lambert has over 30 years of experience ministering to people with mental illness, including  one of his daughters.

His suggestions:

• Prayer: “That’s the beginning,” he said, recommending the daily and Sunday Mass readings throughout the Easter season, which runs through Pentecost on May 31. “This is the time of the year when the Spirit is especially alive in the readings,” Lambert said.

• Ask, “What am I grateful for? What and who inspires me?”: “That really is good to think about,” he said.

• Stay connected with people: Connect online, by phone, with emails, etc., “to help reinforce the fact that we are not alone. There are people among us going through this too — our friends, family, others.”

• Ask yourself, “How can I help others?”: What can we do today to make others feel connected?

• Keep a journal: “Journal your feelings and bring that to prayer,” he said.

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