Some little acts of kindness like a smile, holding the door open, giving an honest compliment, showing appreciation, being a good listener, offering help, checking on someone, or treating someone to a coffee or tea can go a long way to alleviate their problems.
U.S. Dr. Rene Minter “had that giving spirit” right from childhood, even when she was four or so. Then if someone didn’t have something, she would give them half of her own because it’s the right path to take, she says.
According to her, “The capacity to help people in need has grown over the years, and I know that it’s the right path to take because I know that’s what God would want me do. It’s just stepping into a calling that I’ve had and recognize from a young child.”
She comes from a family of faith, she explains, and it’s her faith that has guided all of this, saying it’s one thing to take on the faith of your parents and your grandparents, which they “learned that way” from them but it’s another thing to “have your own life-changing experiences.”
Dr. Minter is an experienced psychotherapist in private practice in Rockville Centre, New York, focusing on individuals, family, marital therapy, and a demonstrated history of working in the mental healthcare industry. She’s a minister, life coach, educator, motivational speaker, and kingdom builder. She holds a doctorate in divinity/ministry from Newburgh Theological Seminary and is skilled in nonprofit organizations, crisis intervention, conflict resolution, mentoring, and fundraising.
Dr. Minter co-authored the book “Women Inspiring Nations,” where more than 20 women of different backgrounds and callings share their stories and gifts to inspire and transform lives across the U.S, and she is now working on a new book. In this anthology, A few African American women talk about their experiences with prejudice in the United States, published soon. Her second book about freedom focuses on men and women who have faced challenges, overcome those challenges victoriously, and are finally free, coming out in January.
She has “actually been paralyzed twice, and that was part of my journey.” Although she can speak now, she lost the ability to talk at about the age of 20 when she had Bell’s palsy, which at the time had no medication and was regarded as a disorder for the elderly, she stated. She had just woken up one morning, unable to speak, and remained like that for about four or five months. From that, she had learned that “you can’t have a rainbow without going through a storm; and that every storm that we go through, it’s not just for us, but it’s for others.” She then had divine healing that gave her a voice, not just a literal voice but “a voice for compassion, and I took that to become an advocate.” Within four months, she was able to see and hear again.
In Dr. Rene’s words, she had already gone through social work school and was already going in that direction but having lost her voice and being disabled prohibited her from moving any further. And once she regained her abilities, she reveals, she was “on fire, and it never stopped, it never stopped,” describing her experience as a refueling from the Lord.
As a twin, she discloses, it was emotional and difficult for her to see her own “flip side” healthy, walking around, and being able to speak as well while looking at herself and wondering, “Why me?”
After her recovery, Dr. Minter tells us, she was able to get a job and worked in social work and has done social work for about 42 years now, saying her experiences have also led to other things and described social work as another form of ministry, which means to provide care.
According to Dr. Rene, while teaching college, she was teaching others how to care, and her former students, who are now professors, usually come back to her for teaching them about giving and caring because they can do what she taught them how to do.
Now, she also goes around Africa, helping African women start businesses and teaching young girls. “That’s just another thing that I do, but that came out of the ministry of care,” she reveals.
Dr. Minter is not unmindful of the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic on the people. According to her, she’s thinking of making “handwritten notes to let people know I hear you and I see you this year, especially not just because it’s Christmas but because we have…come through one heck of a year beyond the grace of God.”
She pointed out that it’s our responsibility to help our brother and said she’s concerned about the marginalized individuals, especially “the homeless on the street like right now,” and is working with drug addicts. She believes we’re all in the pandemic together. She usually gives out her used bottles to those who might need them and buys gloves for those who are cold, adding that a simple smile, being able to reach out sometimes to someone, or a sincere concern like asking them about their welfare can make a whole lot of difference and likens it to dropping a seed in a pond which is “going to grow and grow and grow and eventually it’s going to come back to you. Kindness is never wasted. Caring is never wasted. I love that.”
Dr. Minter described the population of the homeless as just another little city because of its “amazing staggering number,” pointing out that “the homeless are you and I because it’s the people who lost their jobs due to COVID.” According to her, “Some many people live one paycheck away from homelessness,” wondering where they are going to live when they catch the virus, get laid off, and their unemployment runs out.
She believes mental health is real, “particularly with the COVID situation,” and provides free mental health services to people with mental health challenges. Although she also has wealthy clients that come to see her, she says, the bulk of her business are the ones that can’t pay, and she continues to see them.
Out of her frailties, Dr. Minter has been able to do great exploits helping people. “I’ve been very fortunate that this ministry of care, which started as a young child, led me into social work, which allowed me to diversify. That led to college teaching, which led to motivational speaking, which led me to be a licensed psychotherapist. And then when I accepted the call to ministry, which I had put off for about 50 years, that was just the crowning on the cake. So, I have successfully intermingled, you know, the marriage of the secular world of caring and the ministerial world of caring, and I couldn’t be happier. If someone said to me which side you like better, I couldn’t choose, and I’m just so grateful that God allows me to do both,” she concluded.
How COVID-19 Impacts Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, bereavement, isolation, loss of income, and fear trigger mental health conditions or exacerbate existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.
But of particular interest is the coronavirus pandemic, which is capable of causing neurological and mental health problems such as delirium, agitation, and stroke, with a higher risk of severe outcomes and even death for those with pre-existing neurological and mental health conditions.
Effects of Homelessness
Homelessness is caused by several factors such as mental illness, addictions, foreclosure, lack of jobs, poverty, domestic violence, or decline in public assistance, but its effects on individuals are even more devastating.
Homelessness can make people experience isolation, increase their chances of taking drugs, or expose them to physical and mental health problems. Some may never get back on their feet later on.
Causes of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is probably not a hallmark of moral failure or lack of willpower but a complex disease. People are generally known to start using drugs to escape or mask pain.
Be that as it may, addiction develops due to poverty, trauma or abuse, stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, death of a loved one, mental illness, or other health conditions.
Dr. Rene’s Five Tips on How to Care for Your Physical and Mental Health Amid COVID-19
It’s no longer news that the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a deadly blow to people’s physical and mental health in recent times, but Dr. Minter has a few tips on how to deal with it.
- Eat Healthily: To survive the current pandemic, you have to eat a healthy and nutritious diet to boost your immune system to enable it to function correctly.
- Exercise: Exercise regularly. Recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults and one hour a day for children.
- Drink Less Alcohol: Reduce your intake of alcohol and limit your consumption of sugary drinks.
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking can predispose you to develop severe disease if you get COVID-19.
Look After Your Mental Health: Needless to say, you can feel stressed, confused, and scared during a crisis, and talking to people around you and those who can help is an excellent way to take care of your mental health in such situations
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