World Mental Health Day 2012


undefinedA special service focusing on mental health was held at St Peter's Church, Minshull Vernon, near Crewe, earlier this month. Organised by the diocesan Mental Health Forum, the service was both affirming and encouraging, says our Head of Counselling Services, Jane Knight (pictured).

The service, held on World Mental Health Day (October 10), was led by Revd Dr Philip Goggins, and attended by 40 people. The feedback has been very positive.

These were the readings … Psalm 88:1-12, read by Dr Tricia Berry from St Cuthbert's Church, Cheadle; and St Luke's Gospel 12:22-28, read by Jane Knight.

And the hymns were: Christ Be Our Light; Kum Ba Yah, My Lord; Dear Lord and Father of Mankind; and Brother, Sister Let Me Serve You.

Keith Ineson talked about his work as agricultural chaplain with farmers in rural communities – and the prevalence of mental health problems among rural communities. He also told of his work in running a telephone support line for gay farmers.

Towards the end of the service a candle was lit to remember all those who experience mental health problems, and all were invited to come forward to light candles and pray.

Jane Knight said of the service: “It was affirming to those who had or were experiencing mental health problems.  I feel the Mental Health Forum felt very blessed to be part of this and encouraged there was so much interest.  Many people said how much they enjoyed the service and would like to have something similar each year.”

Afterwards there were homemade cakes and drinks in the parish hall.

There are many factors which influence our mental health and well-being, writes Jane Knight. These are: social, cultural, economic, political and biological. It is the weight of these factors at any particular time that will affect our emotional and spiritual resilience.

Mental health affects how we think and feel about ourselves and others, how we interpret events, how we learn, how we cope with life events, and how we develop and sustain relationships.

The current estimate is that at least 1 in 4 people will experience some type of mental health problem in the course of a year.  In the UK, depression affects 1 in 5 people and is the third most common reason for consultation with a GP.

Although mental health problems are common, 9 out of 10 people affected say they have faced stigma and discrimination as a result.

On World Mental Health Day last year the Church of England signed up to ‘Time to Change’ -  England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma campaign. Back in summer 2012 within our own diocese Bishop Peter also demonstrated his support for the campaign, signing up to a pledge to “take action to reduce mental health discrimination”.

The plan is to put the bishop's signed pledge on display in the reception of Church House.

‘Time to Change’ is run by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Church communities can be good places to start conversations about mental health issues. They can provide valuable emotional support or spiritual guidance to people with mental health problems and their carers and families. 

Many church communities feel uncertain about how best to help. Within the Diocese of Chester, the Mental Health Forum has recently produced a resource document entitled ‘1 in 4’ , which gives information and links to many useful resources and highlights the valuable role of faith communities in promoting mental health and increasing understanding and knowledge. Download the document from the diocesan website 1 in 4

Venue: St Peter's Church, Minshull Vernon