Why should the church be concerned about mental health? At least one in four adults and one in ten children will have a significant mental health problem at some point in their lives. People with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination, thus it is hard for them to talk about their difficulties and to receive support. This stigma extends to their carers too.
The church has always been called to work with the marginalised in society. Those with mental health problems often have additional social problems to face, including unemployment, poverty, debt, relationship breakdown, social isolation and being the victim of abuse or violence. They are more likely to have additional physical health problems and those with severe mental illness have a life expectancy 20 years less that the general population. Those with mental health problems often look to the church for support.
Open Minds the strategy group for the Diocese on mental health and learning disability issues, has since 2011 developed across the diocese. Following this, it was decided by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham Diocese, that each parish should have a MHAG (mental health awareness guide) to represent & further the mental health ministry within each church. The MHAG person was to be a committed church member, & must have a passion/ interest in mental health and may have lived experience of mental health issues themselves or as a carer. They would need to be able to work well with the church leadership in order to bring about change, and must have the support of and be accountable to the clergy and TCC.
Ideally in Toton we would have liked to have a person representing both our churches, & preferably a male & female for obvious gender reasons. Presently we have Simon Duxon from St Peter's, who has been doing this role for nearly 2 years now. The scheme is up & running & we do envisage the ministry outreaching into the wider community in the near future. The diocese have now a recognised Mental Health Sunday in October.
Should anyone require personal professional support, Let's Talk - Wellbeing Nottinghamshire County Service is a service that provides psychological assessment and treatment for what are known as mild to moderate common mental health problems. You can discuss this with your GP who may arrange a referral or you can simply refer yourself by downloading and completing the self referral leaflet. At the first appointment, your Let's Talk - Wellbeing therapist will work with you to understand what the problem is, and to agree the next steps.
The Nottinghamshire County service, launched in 2009, is a most established service providing services to the catchment area of over 150 GP practices. They are pleased to accept self referrals, providing a service from 8am - 8pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings, in a venue which is most convenient for their patients, delivering the service in a variety of community settings, including GP surgeries, health centres, leisure centres, libraries,and local faith centres.
They can provide telephone support at lunch time for busy people, whether they are at home or in the workplace. They offer stress control courses, face to face guided self help and one to one more traditional counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy. They can even offer mindfulness based groups for those who prefer and might benefit from a more meditative approach. For more information : www.letstalkwellbeing.co.uk or Tel.0115 956 0888