June 2018

The Epistle - LPC Newsletter

June 2018

It’s 2018: Do You Know How your Children Are?

Diane R. Ford - April 2018

Get this – 49.5% of adolescents had a mental disorder in 2016.

As we wrap-up our month of Mental Health Awareness, this Epistle has articles specifically related to mental health and teenagers.  Bring your questions and stories regarding mental health to church on June 3.  We will be welcoming guest speaker Jay Yudof, a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, to LPC that day.  In the pages that follow you will find a short bio about him, and more details of what to expect on June 3..

For the past several weeks I have been getting an education on various aspects of Mental Health.  My favorite term I’ve learned is one invented by Jay Yudof, “Mental Health Immunization.”  This is a term that includes the kind of work a faith community can participate in by being a safe, inclusive, joyful and loving home for all people.  One article I read was called the Statistics of Mental Illness in the United States (it is included in this Epistle and is renamed: “Prevalence of “Any” and “Serious” Mental Illness in the United States”).  If you read any of that article, do not miss the very last paragraph.  I was surprised by the statistics and wrote an email to Jay inquiring about it. This is what stunned me: 49.5% of adolescents had a mental disorder in 2016.  I have included parts of that article for you (next page), and then the emails that Jay and I exchanged regarding it.

The world has changed. Staying in-the-know is part of our stewardship and commitment to Christ.  We cannot serve and heal what we do not know. To heal a great portion of Americans, we need to Stomp out Stigma around mental illness.  We all have physical, spiritual and mental health.  Sometimes those parts of ourselves get sick.  Perhaps it’s a cold; perhaps it is an extended amount of time of grieving; perhaps it is a time of cold prayers and low faith.  It is all “normal” – though just to use that term assumes there is an “abnormal.”  Getting out of binary (black/white; good/bad; yes/no) thinking is one step toward becoming more fully human and therefore, more fully Christ’s Body in the World.


News about Jesus spread all over Syria, and people brought
to him all who were ill with various diseases, those
suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those
having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.
Matthew 4:24

In Faith with You,



Mental Health Sunday at LPC

June 3 during and after the 10:00 worship service

Mental HealthJesus blew through stigmas in his day, and we too are called to do the work of stomping our stigma of mental illness. The morning will include three of our members sharing their own stories about how mental illness has affected their lives.  In addition, we are honored to have Jay Yudof from National Association of Mental Illness with us! Jay will speak to us during worship, and then give a 20-minute presentation after worship on the housing situation in for those living with serious mental illnesses.  Jay has a mountain of knowledge – bring someone to church who will benefit from this special morning at LPC.

Jay Yudof

Jay Yudof

Jay Yudof, M.S, Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, serves as the Vice President of NAMI-Greater Monmouth, our local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. For the past 20 years, he has been active in efforts to help raise awareness of mental health recovery, reduce the discrimination faced by people with mental health issues, and improve our mental health service system. Within NAMI, Jay leads support groups, produces and maintains a recovery guidebook, and coordinates statewide outreach programs designed to reduce stigma and to help reduce health disparities faced by people dealing with ongoing mental health issues.


NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need. 

Visit NAMI Greater Monmouth’s Website



Prevalence of “Any” and “Serious” Mental Illness in the United States

Source – November 2017 —– Acquired May 2018

Mental illnesses are common in the United States. One in six U.S. adults lives with a mental illness (44.7 million in 2016). Mental illnesses include many different conditions that vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Two broad categories can be used to describe these conditions: Any Mental Illness (AMI) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI). AMI encompasses all recognized mental illnesses. SMI is a smaller and more severe subset of AMI

Any Mental Illness

  • Any mental illness (AMI)is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. AMI can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment (e.g., individuals with serious mental illness as defined below).

Serious Mental Illness

  • Serious mental illness (SMI)is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.

Prevalence of Any Mental Illness (AMI)

  • The past year (2016) prevalence of AMI among U.S. adults.
    • In 2016, there were an estimated 44.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with AMI. This number represented 18.3% of all U.S. adults.
    • The prevalence of AMI was higher among women (21.7%) than men (14.5%).
    • Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of AMI (22.1%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (21.1%) and aged 50 and older (14.5%).
    • The prevalence of AMI was highest among the adults reporting two or more races (26.5%), followed by the American Indian/Alaska Native group (22.8%). The prevalence of AMI was lowest among the Asian group (12.1%).

Mental Health Treatment for AMI

  • Mental health treatment received within the past year by U.S. adults aged 18 or older with any mental illness (AMI): (Mental health treatment is defined as having received inpatient treatment/counseling or outpatient treatment/counseling, or having used prescription medication for problems with emotions, nerves, or mental health.)
      • In 2016, among the 44.7 million adults with AMI, 19.2 million (43.1%) received mental health treatment in the past year.
    • More women with AMI (48.8%) received mental health treatment than men with AMI (33.9%).
    • The percentage of young adults aged 18-25 years with AMI who received mental health treatment (35.1%) was lower than adults with AMI aged 26-49 years (43.1%) and aged 50 and older (46.8%).

Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness for SMI

  • The past year prevalence of SMI among U.S. adults:
    • In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with SMI. This number represented 4.2% of all U.S. adults.
    • The prevalence of SMI was higher among women (5.3%) than men (3.0%).
    • Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of SMI (5.9%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (5.3%) and aged 50 and older (2.7%).
    • The prevalence of SMI was highest among the adults reporting two or more races (7.5%), followed by the American Indian/Alaska Native group (4.9%). The prevalence of SMI was lowest among the Asian group (1.6%).

Mental Health Treatment for SMI

  • Mental health treatment received within the past year by U.S. adults 18 or older with serious mental illness (SMI).
    • In 2016, among the 10.4 million adults with SMI, 6.7 million (64.8%) received mental health treatment in the past year.
    • More women with SMI (68.8%) received mental health treatment than men with AMI (57.4%).
    • The percentage of young adults aged 18-25 years with AMI who received mental health treatment (51.5%) was lower than adults with AMI aged 26-49 years (66.1%) and aged 50 and older (71.5%).

Prevalence of Any Mental Disorder among Adolescents

    • Based on diagnostic interview data from National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), Figure 5 shows lifetime prevalence of any mental disorder among U.S. adolescents aged 13-18.1
      • An estimated 49.5% of adolescents had any mental disorder.
      • Of adolescents with any mental disorder, an estimated 22.2% had severe impairment. DSM-IV criteria were used to determine impairment.



Hi Jay,
I am sending you a link to an article. [Article above.] Would you please look at the section regarding 13-25 year-olds. I was stunned at the percentages and wonder if you could comment on this. Rather than 50 percent, I thought one out of four or five teens (depending on what I’m reading) have mental illnesses.
Blessings Diane

Jay Yudof’s Response to the inquiry from Pastor Diane

Yep. It made Time magazine in 2016.

For sure, when you see a wild spike in a medical condition, one big question is “is it real, or a phenomenon of reporting or diagnosing or a business factor?” Cynic though I am, the things I am reading point to it being a real trend, not a phenomenon. School safety is probably one driver, and a surprising one could be social media.2

We know a lot about the impact of trauma on the developing brain and living through everything since 9/11 is probably taking a toll. Human reactions are very different, and for some folks, seeing kids running out of a school on TV while hearing automatic weapon fire may be as traumatizing as for others being on the scene at the time.

The right path is prevention, not trying to treat mental health episodes with Rx, therapy, hospitalization. The prevention takes the flavor of good, healthy family life. Closeness. Helping kids build skills and friendships and values and the ability to see perspective. Good attention to physical health and a culture of exercise. Helping kids learn mindfulness (e.g., via Yoga). Helping kids stay involved in congregation and community. Building a culture where it is OK to cry, or to ask for help, and where a wide range of folks are accepted, and where bullying is taboo.

As long as I am mounting my soapbox, strong gun control would be helpful, too.

I do not want to sound political, but there are theories that the rise of “fake news” and reduced credibility of news sources plays a role in distress. But this is a genie which is probably out of Pandora’s Box forever (mixed metaphors intentional).

Last week, I got to spend 1.5 hours listening to Dr Dan Tomasullo.3 Lots of folks will remember him as a psych professor @ Brookdale; he is now an international researcher and educator on the topic of positive psychology (and sees some clients in Red Bank). Positive Psychology is way beyond “don’t worry, be happy,” and way into strong research on simple interventions to help people prepare for the slings and arrows of life. I move in the world of “mental illness treatment,” while he and his colleagues are probably close to the ability to put forward a meaningful model of “psychological immunization;” allowing young brains to be partially protected against the slings and arrows. This sounds amazing, and also risky, on the paradigm of “every tool can be a weapon.”

Be well. I will see you on Sunday.


  1. Read the TIME Magazine article “The Rise of Teen Depression” in this Epistle – see below.
  2. Important article on implications of being on electronic devices: https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.1b16
  3. Daniel Tomasuloan American counseling psychologist


The Rise in Teen Depression

Describing teens as moody and angsty is an old cliche. That stage of life is loaded with drama and intense feelings. And it was ever thus—just go back read your high school diary for evidence. But while anxiety and sadness aren’t new phenomena among adolescents, there’s been a significant increase in the percentage of young people aged 12-20 who have reported having a major depressive episode (MDE).

A study of national trends in depression among adolescents and young adults published in the journal Pediatrics on November 14 found that the prevalence of teens who reported an MDE in the previous 12 months jumped from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.5% in 2014. That’s a 37 percent increaseAn MDE is defined as a period of at least two weeks of low mood that is present in most situations. Symptoms include low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, and problems with sleep, energy and concentration.

Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there hasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. Meanwhile, among those who did get help, treatment tended to be more intense, often involving specialized care by in-patient and outpatient providers and including prescription medications. (This may be due in part to increased mental health coverage in the wake of new health care parity laws.)

This information won’t come as a surprise to school counselors and clinicians who’ve seen a rise in depression, anxiety and related incidents of self-harm first hand, as reported in TIME’s Nov. 7th cover story “The Kids Are Not All Right. The number of kids who are struggling with these issues is staggering. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than three million adolescents aged 12-17 reported at least one major depressive episode in the past year, and more than two million reported severe depression that impeded their daily functioning.

Ellen Chance, co-president of the Palm Beach School Counselor Association, says that in her region “anxiety and depression are affecting kids’ behavior and their ability to learn which can lead to dropping out or home school.” Getting resources to these students is essential for them to function in school. She’s working with the National Alliance for Mental Illness to get more counselors trained to identify mental health disorders, but it’s not easy. Counselors are often responsible for more than 500 kids and have other duties as well, often including administering state tests.

In Montana, where major depressive episodes have also spiked, there’s a dearth of trained counselors that can get to all the schools in the sparsely populated state, so officials are trying implement tele-counselling programs.

And California’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, tallied more than 5,000 incidents of suicidal behavior last year. That’s huge increase since they began tracking these issues in the 2010-2011 school year, when just 255 incidents were reported. These incidents ranged from expressions of openness to suicide and self-harm, and acts of self-harm. Specific incidents of self-harm, like superficial cutting and burning the skin are usually not attempts at suicide, but the behavior does correlate with a higher risk of suicidal behavior. Studies of self-harm are consistent in showing that people who injure themselves do so to cope with anxiety or depression.

Some of the increase in depression in Los Angeles schools may be due to more awareness and improved data collection, but with more than 30 percent of high school students there reporting prolonged feelings of hopelessness and sadness lasting more than two weeks, and 9.1% of middle schoolers and 8.4% of high schoolers in the district actually attempting suicide, the data highlights the need for more mental health resources for young people.

Pia Escudero, L.A. Unified’s director of school mental health crisis counseling and intervention services, reported that kids in her district are at increased risk of depression when faced with adverse conditions such as single parent homes, community violence, sexual violence, economic hardship or cyber bullying. She and her team released a Blueprint for Wellness earlier this year detailing the district’s plan to increase resilience particularly among those at-risk students.

However, depression isn’t just affecting kids facing conditions that have long been associated with poor mental health outcomes. The Pediatrics study whose lead author was Ramin Mojtabai, MD, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, adjusted for those socio-demographic and household factors and concluded that they could not account for the big increase in depression trends. Nor was there a correlation with substance abuse. In fact, there has been little change in rates of substance abuse among teens.

Perhaps the most common risk for depression is being female. According to the department of Health and Human Services, rates of depression among girls ages 12-17 in 2015 were more than double that of boys. (In the U.S., 19.5% of girls experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, while only 5.8% of boys did.) The Pediatrics study researchers suggested that adolescent girls may be more exposed to risk factors. They point to research that indicates that cyber-bullying is far more prevalent among girls than boys. Some studies show that girls use mobile phones with texting applications more frequently and intensively. And, problematic mobile phone use in this age group has been linked to depressed mood.

Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls. “I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.

The authors of the teen depression trends study concluded that “the growing number of depressed adolescents and young adults who do not receive any mental health treatment of their symptoms calls for renewed outreach efforts, especially in school and college health and counseling services and pediatric practices where many of the untreated adolescents and young adults with depression may be detected and managed.‍”

For budget-crunched schools and municipalities, it’s difficult to fund and deploy more mental health resources. But quantifying the problem is a significant step. To that end, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending depression screening for all young people ages 11 through 21. Because symptoms of depression are often not recognizable by teachers, parents or even physicians, this move may be key to better identifying kids who are suffering and getting them treatment.

The above article by Susanna Schrobsdorff was publishing in TIME Magazine, November 16, 2016



Eagle Projects

scout Andrew A


Life Scout Eric Schmalzried has decided to create a beautiful raised garden around the driveway entrance sign for his Eagle Project.  The raised garden will “mirror” the raised garden around the marquee sign that was an Eagle Project a few years ago.  Eric is a member of Lincroft Presbyterian Church.  He is a member of Troop 86 which is sponsored by Old Brick Reformed Church.

Eric presented his project to the congregation at the Sunday service of May 27th.  As you are aware, all Eagle Projects cost money and part of every project is fund raising.  If you have not yet donated to Eric’s Eagle Project you can still do so by making your check payable to LPC with reference to “Eagle Project”.

Life Scout Andrew Alborn of LPC Sponsored Troop 246 has completed his two phase Eagle Project.  Part one was to replace the border landscape timbers of the Cross Prayer Garden.  This garden was created and constructed as the Eagle Project of our own Kevin Smith.  Part two was to replace the landscape timbers of the Triangle Garden with a stone wall to blend in with the raised stone wall garden of the Marquee Sign.

scout - 02+03



scout Tom P



Life Scout Tom Pinnola of LPC Sponsored Troop 246 has completed his Eagle Project of reconditioning one of the Troop’s equipment shed between the parking lot and the playground.  He replaced the whole roof from the rafters to the shingles, replaced a number of rotted out wall sections and laid a new floor.  After the project was completed the Troop Dads spray painted the two troop sheds as well as the LPC shed outside the sanctuary side door.


Community Engagement

Middletown for 100% Clean Energy Workshop

  • Thu, Jun 7, 6:00 PM – 8:45 PM
  • Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road, Holmdel, NJ

June 7, 6PM workshop for Middletown leaders (light dinner provided)

A (free) program for 100% CLEAN ENERGY leaders in towns in Monmouth County
Middletown, the largest town, will be the flagship.
Sponsors: Climate Reality and Sierra Club

Be part of Middletown’s transition to 100% Clean Energy! Experienced Sierra Club professionals are coming from NH, CA, and Oklahoma. Let’s take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to really make a difference in moving Middletown to 100% clean energy.

  • Facilitate Monmouth County volunteer leaders in building a core team in each town; recruit and create the environment to move to 100% Clean Energy by 2035, as part of a NJ statewide campaign.
  • Brainstorm the big vision for your town; identify where you are now. Map out next steps.
    • Conduct community clean energy interviews and community mapping;
    • Partner with social & environmental justice organizations and student organizations
    • Develop your campaign strategy

LOGISTICS: We presently have 20+ attendees from various towns, and have room for less than 20 more leaders, so are becoming more selective to only motivated volunteers. Five Middletown volunteers are presently attending. More leaders are encouraged to sign up to reserve a spot before the program is filled!

Email your name, your town, and your background & interests to one of the Monmouth County coordinators:

ClimatePatSteve@gmail.com 732-671-5917
Pat Miller patmiller@comcast.net
Steve Miller stevemiller@comcast.net



Lincroft Presbyterian Church

Lincroft Presbyterian Church


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