The Catholic Times on the world today, mentions the anxiety experienced as a reason for many mental problems. Jobs are hard to find, salaries are low, retirement worries, the deepening of the polarization between levels of society, the generation gap, all make for an increase in the number who find it difficult to cope.
Last April the Korean Institute for Health and Social Affairs reported that 34.4 % of the citizens see society as unstable and 60 % of the young feel insecure. This is one of the reasons we have the large number of suicides, depression, and mental difficulties.
According to the National Health Insurance Corporation in 2015 there was an increase of 16% from 2010 in the number of those seeking help for depression at hospitals. From 2008 there has been an increase of those asking for counseling because of depression and other mental problems.
Korea for 12 straight years has led the developed nations in the number of suicides: about 30 to 40 daily. The head of one of the counseling services explains that for many no matter how hard they work there is no way to exit the tunnel they are in. This causes the senses to be on edge and sharp and is often followed by depression and occasionally suicide.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." These words of Jesus have always been consoling to many Christians and helped many with despondency and mental difficulties to regain health. However, says the article, to trust only in prayers and religious activities can be poison. Those who have studied the situation make it clear what is needed is the working together of professional help and the spiritual life.
A professor of spirituality is quoted as saying: "prayer can be an escape and a distortion of religion and a distancing one from healing: there is the need for counseling along with the religious practices."
The article goes on to mention the need for centers and parishes to become concerned in helping those who are in need of counseling. We have a movement within the Church that is encouraging this tendency but also the Church needs to nurture resilience among the Christians: the ability to recover from failures, adversity, trials and the like. Those that have this resiliency will after the difficulties bounce back even to greater growth.
In conclusion, the article shows how important a positive outlook on life is in overcoming difficulties. The Church needs to remember this in its teachings, sermons, retreats and dealings with the Christians. It has been shown that the positive outlook enables resiliency and the strength to overcome the trials in life.
Studies made outside Korea have shown that Catholics don't do well in comparison to other religious groups in communicating and empathy. The Church in Korea needs to be aware of this and work to change. One priest mentions if one goes to a Protestant church there is always a warm welcome but at a Catholic Church,you find a coldness. He attributes this to the large numbers and forgetting the healing properties we should have as a community.
As a community of faith, we need to study how we can be more resilient, more positive, live and transmit this attitude to those in our communities.