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Summer Solstice 2024

Navigating the Mental Health Crisis in Young Adults



Christina arrived at Hopewell in August 2016. She grew up in Syracuse, New York, and resided as a nun at the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament on Cleveland’s west side for 18 years. Her apostolate (mission) was prayer, and she sometimes found herself overwhelmed, hearing people’s requests and trying to connect with a higher power.

Christina with her collage While living with 17 other sisters, Christina began having extreme bouts of anger and was asked to find a way to deal with her outbursts and depression. A friend of the convent, who had a son at Hopewell years prior, suggested she consider it. Christina was unsuccessful at two other mental health facilities but fell in love with Hopewell.

Cecilia Futch, a Hopewell clinician, helps her deal with strong emotions using Acceptance Commitment Therapy, which empowers her not to battle the anger, but instead find a way to live with those feelings.

Diffusion Technique, distancing from streams of words and not seeing them as facts, is another way Christina stays present in the moment. She said, “Just because you have thoughts and feelings, it doesn’t make them true. Most thoughts are about the future and may never occur.”

Mindfulness and Buddhist training changed her perspective on managing emotions. “I imagine a big container and pack up strong emotions in it, allowing room in my mind for happier thoughts. It is okay to have them, I just need to control them.”

Christina has participated in all of the work crews but spends most of her time exploring new interests. At Hopewell, she made sugar scrubs and candles to sell in the Farm & Craft Market, learned to sand Adirondack chairs and joined cooking classes which opened her awareness to healthy eating. She found an oasis of peace singing with the Musical Journey Group and experiencing comradery with the other resident musicians.

Discovering art therapy has brought out Christina’s creative side. She always thought talent was needed to be artistic, but while taking a drawing class she found it can be learned. Mary Cassidy, clinician and art therapist, inspired Christina to do collage work which has allowed her to dream of writing a children’s book based on pictures she has found.

Christina is currently planning for her future, integrating what she has learned at Hopewell and further developing her creative projects.

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