In our culture today, discourse around mental health and well-being has increased with the Royal Family, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and numerous celebrities and individuals speaking out about it.
1 in 4 people are estimated to have experienced or are currently experiencing a mental health difficulty. In the Church, I reckon this is much higher. On a typical Sunday, alongside regular members, there will be people who are visiting, coming along after an encounter with a member of the church or just walking in off the street. Then add on all of the events a church might do in the year where the community might come along and those that just come at Easter or Christmas, that's a lot more people.
I think it is vital that churches are equipped to meet the need of everyone who may walk in with a mental health or well-being need. We all have mental health and well-being so we are all qualified to have conversations about it. For some, the very reason they came to church that morning/evening was because they wanted somewhere where they felt like they belonged and could talk to someone who would listen and understand.
I do believe that God can do miracles and transform our hearts and minds, but as we live in the tension of the now and not yet of the Kingdom, it doesn't always happen. Some may have a lifelong difficulty with mental health, or have good seasons and not-so-good seasons as I do, no matter how much we pray. And especially for people who are just starting their journey or are new to faith, prayer may not be what they need in that moment. I have seen material on mental health that is very spiritual and bible based, which non-christian or a new christian may find hard to understand.
My aim in this section is to talk about mental health and well-being in a way that brings Psychology and Faith together. Whether senior pastor or just starting in faith, I hope everyone can learn more about different mental health issues, how that my look in a church context and what can be done to promote positive mental health and well-being.
This will be through short information sheets, resources, blog posts and anything else I find useful.
The more we talk about mental health and well-being as a church, the better we can help those around us.