From the New York Times, here is a recent piece on the health benefits of giving – benefits, that is, for the giver.
The article is partly tied to holiday giving. But the writer gives a nod, not just to material gifts for the names on our shopping list, but also to gifts of our time and care. She cites numerous studies that show improved health outcomes for people involved in helping or volunteering. One study describes an endorphin rush or “helper’s high” from altruistic behavior, and finds that “[t]he strongest effect was seen when the act of altruism involved direct contact with other people.” So writing a check is not as revivifying as giving our time and attention to a person in need.
Concerned about the price of health care? You're not alone. The New York Times reports that:
According to a recent survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Samhsa, pronounced SAM-suh), the leading reason that people with mental health issues don’t seek treatment is cost. They fear the fees.
Here is a link about an important if somber topic, and one that is sadly familiar to parish clergy.
Greg Warner of Religion News Service has written a good article on depression and suicide among pastors. (We spotted it just yesterday in the latest issue of Christian Century but it appeared in USA Today three weeks ago, as well as in many denominational outlets.) It discusses the suicide in September of Baptist pastor David Treadway in Hickory, NC. One of the experts quoted in the piece is Steven Scoggin of CareNet, a pastoral counselor based in Winston-Salem and a friend of the Clergy Health Initiative.
This morning, the news media reported new screening guidelines for breast cancer, revising long-standing recommendations about when women should begin receiving mammograms. This shift is aimed at reducing the risks that may be associated with a very broad screening guideline.