October/December 2018, Volume 3, Issue 10
A Message of Gratitude
Thank you for the privilege of serving you and your ministries for the past three years ago. In the fall of 2015 I started gathering information for the first issue of our newsletter “Mind, Body, Spirit – Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness”. Since January 2016 there have been 30 issues. (They are archived at ucc.org.) Thank you to those who shared information to include. Also, thank you to all who expressed appreciation for this resource.
A call to another facet of health ministry is now unfolding for me. As a result the Leadership Team is planning that with the January/February 2019 issue a new editor will continue the process of compiling this newsletter. I will continue to support that ministry. With prayer for abundant blessings on our diverse ministries, Peggy Matteson
The Opioid Epidemic and the Role of Your Church
Churches are not neutral bystanders:
what they don’t say is just as important as what they do say.
-A West Virginia pastor
All opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor’s prescription). Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths.
Substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. About 11.5 million Americans age 12 and older misused prescription pain medicine in 2016 (Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the U.S. 2017). As the misuse of prescription drugs grew so did the number of people who had to ultimately turn to cheaper and m ore available non-prescriptive opioids. The use of the illicit drugs heroin and fentanyl has grown exponentially in recent years. On average 115 Americans die from opioid-related drug overdoses every day.
What can churches do?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizing that churches are willing to reach out to meet the needs of their families, friends, neighbors and colleagues have developed an Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit that can be easily downloaded. The toolkit is segmented into seven key areas and briefly covers practical ways you can consider bringing hope and healing to those in need. The labeled key areas with a brief description are:
Open Your Doors – Host or offer space to recovery programs and support groups
Increase Awareness – To increase awareness partner with local community health experts to help educate your community about the reality of who this epidemic is affecting. Better understanding leads to compassion which then encourages action.
Build Community Capacity – Offer training programs provided by community partners to train members of the congregation to become peer-recovery coaches, understand where to make referrals, know how to respond in an emergency situation, and provide ongoing support for those in recovery.
Rebuild and Restore – Individuals and families when attempting to rebuild their lives. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified the four dimensions that support moving to a successful life in recovery as:
Health – overcoming or managing one’s disease or symptoms;
Home – having a stable and safe place to live;
Purpose - conducting meaningful daily activities; and
Community – having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Get Ahead of the Problem – Focus efforts on youth and prevention. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can increase a person’s risk for substance abuse. Read below more about the lifelong effect of ACEs below and ideas for how a church might assist individuals.
Connect and Collaborate - Join local substance-use prevention coalitions to inform, connect, and strengthen your efforts. Review One Voice, One Community: Building Strong and Effective Partnerships Among Community and Faith Organizations. This guide offers strategies for churches to collaborate with community organizations to address the needs of people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, or both.
Utilize Federal Resources – Government agencies have developed many tools that are available free from websites. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other HHS divisions are very helpful.
What is the best way to respond to a person having an overdose?
If there are prescription opioids in your house Naloxone (Narcan) should be there, too. It is an easy to administer, safe, and effective way to save a life by stopping the effect of an opioid overdose. Understanding that its use can easily save a life Narcan is becoming available to the public without a prescription.
In April of 2018 Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that carrying and knowing how to use Narcan should become as “ubiquitous as knowing CPR and calling for a defibrillator when someone is having a heart attack, or using an EpiPen when someone’s having an allergic reaction”. In our churches we support the tools of CPR, a defibrillator, and an Epi-Pen. It’s time to consider the availability of Narcan. The Steward, the newsletter of our Insurance Board has a very helpful article in the Summer Issue titled Opioids and your Church: What you should know. It provides guidelines for a church choosing to include naloxone (Narcan) as part of their first aid program.
Who are your Caring “Cs”?
There are five kinds of people that we need in our lives so we may each grow towards our fullest God given potential. Rev. Nancy Grissom Self has labeled them the Five Caring “Cs”.
People that comfort us,
People who clarify issues with us,
People who challenge us,
People who collaborate with us, and
People who celebrate with us.
God provides people in our lives who provide one or more “Cs”. Identify them, celebrate them (even the ones who challenge you) and thank God for each of them.
(Hollies,L., 2006, p. 105). Learn more specifics about each “C”
in the Appendix of her book Inner Healing for Broken Vessels.
RESOURCES FOR OUR PRACTICE
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance abuse disorders. ACEs are strongly related to the subsequent development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan, including those associated with substance misuse. The CDC provides an extensive list of resources at Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Resources.
As more is learned about the causes and effects of adverse childhood experiences, new efforts are emerging nationwide that help families raise healthy children and increase resilience. The RWJF website: Adverse Childhood Experiences collection contains resources for churches and communities working to raise awareness about and mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences, and help every child have a healthy start in life.
Sometimes, congregations must back up and start again
If your ministry is no longer achieving its intended impact, it may be time to ask why. Probing a ministry’s purpose and progress may reveal that it’s time to reverse course and start again. Have you wondered about the ministry you lead, is it still achieving its intended impact? You may find the article Sometimes Congregations Must Back-up and Start Again written by Dave Odom in the learning resource Faith & Leadership available from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Loneliness and Isolation
In the October 7th, 2018 stillspeaking Daily Devotional – Lonely Hunter, Vince Amlin writes about the study released by the insurer Cigna earlier this year. The study found that loneliness and isolation have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Loneliness (also known as subjective isolation) is how people perceive their experience and whether or not they feel isolated. Isolation is a growing health epidemic. More than 8 million adults age 50 and older are affected by isolation. The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
We speak of being a church family or a church community. Our opportunity to worship and fellowship together develops connections between individuals. We can assist in reducing the isolation of individuals by:
Addressing transportation challenges
Addressing health issues such as hearing loss, mobility impairments and supporting chronic disease self-management
Identifying life transitions, role loss or change as times of risk and offering options
Addressing social barriers with intergenerational programs, lifelong learning events, and identifying opportunities for individuals to engage and contribute
Increasing access to a variety of community based programs
RESOURCES FOR OUR ONGOING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
New edition of Manual on Ministry is now available
After a four-year process of discernment and conversation, the newest edition of the UCC Manual on Ministry is now available to support Committees on Ministry in the work of authorizing and overseeing ministers of the 21st century Church.
The role of the Manual on Ministry (MOM) in the United Church of Christ is to serve as a living guide, a grounding perspective, and a resource for shared expectations in the essential ministry of Committees on Ministry. The 2018 edition of the Manual on Ministry is the work of the Habakkuk Group, a 17-member committee called together by the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization (MESA) Team to write the vision of authorized ministry in the 21st century and to make it plain for the United Church of Christ. You may order the new edition of the Manual on Ministry from UCC Resources: $25.00. Shipments of pre-orders will begin in mid-November.
If you seek to become an authorized minister of the UCC with a focus on a ministry of wellness, (this is now an opportunity in place of the former formal commissioning process) this guide provides the steps to follow. It is recognized that what we do is ministry. The Committee on Ministry of your Association guide you in the discernment of your role in ministry and the steps that are to be followed on that journey.
Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Progress and Opportunities.
New articles in the ANA Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN) discuss aspects of these determinants in clinical settings. Of special interest to our various practices are:
Child Poverty, Toxic Stress, and Social Determinants of Health: Screening and Care Coordination
Mobile Traveling Healthcare Teams: An Innovative Delivery System for Underserved Populations
A Nurse-Led Intervention to Address Food Insecurity in Chicago
If you are an ANA member you may log in now to read them. As of January 31st the topic will be available to all viewers.
7 States Now Report Obesity at or Above 35%
The CDC released new data on self-reported adult obesity prevalence for all 50 states. The 2017 Adult Obesity study found that obesity prevalence ranged from a low of 22.6% in Colorado to a high of 38.1% in West Virginia. Adults with obesity are at an increased risk for many serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poorer mental health. Children with obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity.
Turning the tide on obesity will take a comprehensive by all parts of society. To protect the health of the next generation support for healthy behaviors such as healthy eating, better sleep, stress management, and physical activity should start early and expand across the lifespan. There are many evidence-based resources available through the Health and Human Services (HHS) websites that will guide your choice of programing.
A resource that provides a new perspective is the site Weight of the World – Connecting individuals through the power of the personal story. There are several resources here that haven’t appeared elsewhere.
Monthly Announcement of Mental Health Resources
Mental Health First Aider eNews is a bi-weekly newsletter that provides news, updates, and useful resources. Previous newsletters are posted at https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/first-aider-newsletter/#
Mental Health First Aid Blog is available at: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/news-and-updates/
Conferences and Meetings
Jan. 23-27 Creating Change Conference – Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Presented by the National LGBTQ Task Force. More Information and Registration
March 18th 2019 Refresh Your Soul Conference Living Well with Purpose at Xavier University Cintas Center. For more information contact Jeanne Palcic at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 18-20th National ONA Gathering, Milwaukee, WI
DATES TO PUT ON YOUR PLANNING CALENDAR
Some of these dates provide the opportunity to integrate your health ministry activities with other activities in your church such as advocating for a just wage, working with the building and grounds committee addressing access issues, collaborating with the Christian Education committee regarding the health needs of students with medical or behavioral issues, etc.
Dec. 10th Human Rights Day – Advocating for all God’s children.
Search the UCC.org site using the words Human Rights Day to find a liturgy to use in worship, an Intercessory Prayer as well as stories of the actions the UCC and other denominations have taken to advocate for human rights for all.
Jan. 27th Health and Human Services Sunday
June 21st – 25th UCC General Synod, Milwaukee, WI