Workplace wellness movements are gaining momentum. Employers are increasingly recognizing that mental health is an essential part of our overall well-being.
Recently, Starbucks Canada made what it sees as a smart business investment in their employees’ mental health. The coffee chain has significantly raised its employee benefit for mental health treatment to one of the largest allowances offered in the country.
Their reasoning behind this investment is grounded in the fact that Starbucks is staffed mainly by the millennial generation - coined as “Generation Stress” by research.
According to psychotherapist and author, Linda Esposito, with the age of around-the-clock access to news and social media, the mental health of millennials “is in a precarious state”. What is behind the high rates of depression and anxiety, she asks? The stress of academic overachieving, information overload and helicopter parenting are a few keys. Regardless of the reasons, Esposito focuses on building mental health strategies for the millennial for today and beyond.
It’s important to keep our thinking - and our options - open when it comes to choices for mental health care. The medical landscape is ever shifting. Many people sometimes find it difficult to decipher the changing signals and are looking for a more reliable game plan for their health.
According to Pew Research, millennials may not be as traditionally religious as their parents. But simply because they don’t go to church doesn’t mean they are not seeking and embracing practices that speak to them of their spiritual nature - some that are tied to the Divine and some that aren’t - such as meditation, gratitude and encounters with nature.
In our culture, it seems people of all ages are moving away from ties to more traditional religions and faith communities. At the same time, they are seeking better ways to care for their health. This sets up a paradox to be sure given that many people have found that understanding our connection to our spiritual nature - our true relationship to God - is a key that opens the door to more consistent well-being! As someone who has found this to be true, based on the practice of Christian Science, my trust in God, proven by His care for me through the years, has grown.
In recognition of the mental and spiritual nature of health, a few universities in Canada (home to a majority of millennials), some years ago, incorporated prayer-based healing in their benefit plans. These plans reimburse for Christian Science practitioner treatments. A Christian Science practitioner is one who prays for others in order to help them find or restore spiritual, mental and physical wellness. It’s a system of healing based on the example that Jesus set through his own words and works, and asked his followers to continue.
Researchers and plan sponsors may be skeptical of any particular healing attributed solely to prayer – dismissing it as hypothetical on the grounds of coincidence, misdiagnosis, or the placebo effect and the like. But what has happened to the heart, mind and spirit of the individual healed through prayer alone (as I can attest to) is a personal experience that can’t be dismissed by the skepticism of critics.
Doesn’t it make sense to incorporate in any health care plan a method - such as spiritual healing - where there is a long consistent history of evidentiary cases, which show the patient clearly experienced better health?
My own experience is a case in point. Over the past few decades of my career as an employee, such benefits were not included in company plans at that time. However, I experienced almost non-existent “sick days” over the years, and various companies incurred no expense on my behalf in any biomedical field. The practice of Christian Science has helped me live a consistently healthy and fulfilled life - never a liability to any health plan. And, I’m not alone. Numerous family and fellow church members could attest to the same.
Spiritual healing, as demonstrated by Jesus, is often discounted in this scientific age. It does not fit within current models of biomedical care. But making room for a different model, one based on an all-loving God who has created us in His own image, is how we can experience a natural state of good health. This benefits everyone!
Wendy Margolese is a community blogger for Metroland and writes regularly on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. She is the media liaison for Christian Science in Ontario. Contact her at Ontario@compub.org. Follow on Twitter: @wmargolese