The label ‘mental illness’ is highly stigmatising. The burden which must be carried by those affected by mental health problems, and those who care for them, is not only heavy, but can be lifelong. How can we, as the Church, support people through dark times?
One of the best ways of dealing with mental health issues is through healthy relationships. The presence of the church as a community of people who care and who can simply ‘be there’ can be very important in times of need.
At parish level, individual and congregational prayer is powerful. Support from pastoral care teams can provide invaluable ministry, promoting self esteem and a sense that a person’s and family’s journey and burden are shared.
The Church's Mental Health report examines how congregations can be more welcoming to those struggling with mental health problems. The views and assistance of young people were specifically sought for the report. The Mental Health discussion leaflet and the Mental Health bible study can be used in group sessions to discuss mental health and the Church.
Suicide among young men
Suicide is a leading cause of death among young men in Scotland.
In Scotland, men make up the largest proportion of young people taking their own lives. Many churches struggle to know how to deal with issues around suicide.
The Suicide among young men report examines the suicide rate of men in Scotland and how Church members can address suicide. The Kirk Session handbook on suicide provides Church members with some guidance on suicide prevention and bereavement.
Mental health organisations
Samaritans is a charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide, often through their telephone helpline.
You can call Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123.
Mind and Soul Foundation
The Mind and Soul Foundation is a Christian organisation addressing the disconnect between Christian theology and mental health.
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid course
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid course provides training in general mental health problems and gives people confidence to approach someone in distress.