On November 4, 2021, at 4:30 p.m., Patrick R. Manning, Ph.D. will host Meaning, Mental Health, and Educating the Christians of Tomorrow, in the Beck Rooms of the Walsh Library.
Among the many devastating consequences of the Covid pandemic has been the impact on people's - especially for young people's - mental health, which had already reached historic lows prior to the pandemic. While proximate causes like social media and economic and social crises are clearly factors in this mental health crisis, there is another major (albeit more subtle) factor at play. Many people today are poorly equipped to cope with the personal and societal crises they experience and therefore more likely to succumb to deteriorating mental health because they lack adequate means for making sense of these experiences.
Their failure to find meaning not only in their own experiences but also in their religious traditions helps to explain the rising numbers of the religiously unaffiliated. Drawing upon his recent book Converting the Imagination as well as the thought of Bernard Lonergan, Dr. Manning will examine this growing meaning vacuum in our society and analyze the corresponding psychological dynamics of adaptive and maladaptive meaning-making. Most constructively, the talk will explore the possibilities open to Christian communities and institutions for educating contemporary people to meet these challenges and rediscover meaning and wholeness for their lives.