OCCM Webinar: Mental Wellness –The Connection Between Mind & Spirit by Fr. Zach Varghese

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Joly Fahim | 9 March 2021

Joly is a graduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston. In this post, she summarizes the OCCM webinar led by Fr. Zach Varghese, which discussed mental wellness and the connection between mind and spirit.

OCCM Webinar: Mental Wellness –The Connection Between Mind & Spirit by Fr. Zach Varghese 

  1. State of Mental Health & Spirituality in the USA 2020 
    1. In 2019, about 42% of those reported attending religious services weekly told Gallup that their mental health was excellent 
    2. In 2020, about 46% of those reported attending religious services weekly told Gallup that their mental health was excellent
    3. Only 35% of those who attended nearly weekly reported excellent mental health 
    4. Only 29% of those who seldom attend reported excellent mental health 
  2. Definitions 
    1. Spirit – Tends to mean wind, or something that radiates out. It relates to the portion of the human being that can directly interact with God
    2. Soul – Means life, appetite, or passion. It is the motivating factor that takes from the spirit and gives to the body and mind. This is where our nature can interact with the spirit 
    3. Mind – The mind is what makes the soul’s desires effective in public life 
    4. Mental Health – A mental health issue differs from a nominal mood in the mental health issues often impact the functionality of the individual 
    5. Spiritual Health – The aspect of our well-being which organizes the values, relationships and the meaning and purpose of our lives. It is being in tune with the presence, direction, and purpose of life offered by our Holy, Triune God. This generally encompasses a humble, active sacramental life open to learning
  3. Cases  
    1. Elijah 
      1. 1 Kings 17-19
      2. He is in the episode of Israel’s history where there was severe drought. He challenged the gods of Baal to see if their gods would accept the sacrifice. Of course, the only sacrifice accepted was Elijah’s 
      3. Because Jezebel did not like seeing all the pagan priests punished, she wanted to kill Elijah
      4. In Elijah’s tiredness and fear, he told God to take his life 
      5. In moments of despair, it is important to remember the grace of God and His gifts in the sacraments
    2. Kanye West 
      1. Although he may be bipolar, he is offering that he has committed himself to Christ and will only make Christian music 
    3. John the Baptist 
      1. Lived a “strange” life and was sitting in prison alone 
      2. He lived with a considerable amount of doubt around who he was 
      3. The disciples asked him about who he was because although it is not encouraged to harbor doubt, it is also not encouraged to ignore doubt 
  4. Psychiatric and Psychological Solutions 
    1. Real medicine, dependent on practitioner and patient 
    2. It is informed and limited by science and compassion 
    3. It is important not to ignore those who have mental health issues as there may be a way for us to care for them 
  5. Ministry of Christ 
    1. Jesus often proclaimed healing of the spirit before healing the physical condition 
    2. Healing the paralytic man