Solidarity Blog

What is an Authentic Catholic Approach to Mental Health?

Mental Health Awareness

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month this May, it is crucial to recognize the significant role mental health plays in our overall well-being. At Solidarity HealthShare, we understand the importance of addressing mental health from a Catholic perspective, acknowledging its profound impact on individuals’ spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

Catholic mental health emphasizes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. When Catholic principles are followed, and the significance of faith and prayer are practiced, it leads to better outcomes in health and overall well-being. Incorporating spiritual practices with healthy daily habits can have a powerful impact on mental health. Here are five simple examples:

  1. Pray: 15 to 30 minutes per day of prayer and meditation is one of the most important things we can do. Prayer and meditation are always appropriate no matter what condition we find ourselves in.
  2. Practice gratitude: One of my habits that I personally practice is gratitude, which can include listing or reflecting on the things you are grateful for. When we practice gratitude, we do not regret the past or fear the future, we become free to live in God’s plan in the present moment.
  3. Balance hormones: Hormones and neurotransmitters may be responding to other hormones in the body being out of balance (i.e. testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, etc.). Schedule a consultation with your physician to discuss how hormones may be contributing to your health.
  4. Take magnesium supplements: Magnesium is a common sub-clinical deficiency in many Americans and has many beneficial qualities including support for anxiety.
  5. Get regular exercise: Exercise has been shown to be very helpful even ahead of counseling. 30 minutes of walking every day can boost your mood and improve your health.

Solidarity Advocates for a Holistic, Catholic Approach to Mental Health

Also foundational to our approach to mental health is the recognition of the dignity and worth of every individual as created in the image of God. We believe all mental health issues must be approached with compassion, empathy, and respect for the inherent dignity of each person.

At Solidarity HealthShare, we advocate for a comprehensive approach to mental health care that addresses the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of wellness. This includes access to mental health services that align with Catholic values and teachings, such as counseling and therapies that integrate faith-based practices and principles, as well as integrative therapies that recognize the connection between supportive nutrients and the gut microbiome with mental health conditions.

Part of a Larger Issue: Mistreatment of Young Patients Struggling with Gender Dysphoria

Amidst our focus on best practices and evidence-based outcomes for our members suffering with mental health issues, there’s a recent pressing concern that demands attention—the mistreatment of young patients struggling with gender dysphoria. In recent years, the number of individuals identifying as transgender has more than doubled – and what’s more, such identification is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst young people, with 13-24-year-olds comprising 43 percent of the transgender population.

Unfortunately, the favored approach to treating gender dysphoria now typically involves cross-sex hormone therapy or worse, invasive surgical modifications. But research reveals that a significant majority of young people with gender dysphoria naturally embrace their biological sex when provided with proper support and understanding. Moreover, gender-affirming treatments pose significant risks, including sterility and lifelong dependence on medication, without offering meaningful relief from emotional distress. While such treatments are supposedly promoted out of compassion, the truth is that they cause irreversible bodily harm – and very often fail to provide lasting psychological improvements to patients.

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) and the National Health Service England have taken a stand against this concerning trend, highlighting the flaws in the current treatment paradigm. Grounded in science and ethics, CMA advocates for empowering physicians to prioritize healing over affirming confusion.

The gender dysphoria treatment paradigm is just one example of a larger issue that pervades current medical practice: a myopic focus on alleviating symptoms rather than addressing root causes and considering the whole person.

Exploring Mental Health Services with Solidarity HealthShare

Patients deserve good evidence-based healthcare even when it is difficult. The need for doing the right thing for patients in healthcare is evident, especially with vulnerable children being subjected to treatments that disregard their well-being and undermine their future. Solidarity HealthShare provides a beacon of hope, offering families access to comprehensive care aligned with Catholic values and grounded in good medicine, premiere outcomes, and sound ethics.

As Mental Health Awareness Month unfolds, we’re proud to prioritize mental well-being and advocate for practices that uphold the dignity and worth of every individual, especially the most vulnerable among us. Join us in echoing the voices of organizations like the Catholic Medical Association in rejecting harmful interventions and embracing a culture of true compassionate care and genuine healing.

Dr. John C. Oertle – Chief Medical Officer of Solidarity HealthShare