This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Canon Ivor Moody, Canon Pastor at Chelmsford Cathedral writes:
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 10th to 16th May 2021. Perhaps as never before mental health will occupy headlines and be at the forefront of political and social concern as we emerge from lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic. We can confidently expect a tsunami of mental health problems - both seen and unseen - as people have had to struggle with isolation, loneliness, unemployment and redundancy, debt, family tensions, illness, anxiety and bereavement. Of particular concern is the mental health of our children and young people, with the frightening statistic that one in four of them, at least, and many of them very young, will suffer or are already suffering some kind of mental health problem as a result of being away from friends and struggling at home.
Chelmsford Cathedral is pleased to support Mental Health Awareness Week, not least because the recognition of the importance of mental health concerns has Biblical roots. Jesus’ healing ministry was never just about the restoration of the body but about the whole person. He healed their minds as well, often being profoundly moved by the longevity and severity of their suffering. And one thing he always did was to restore those who had been isolated and shunned because of their affliction back into their communities and to those who loved them. This was particularly true of sons and daughters. Jairus’ daughter who was re-united with her parents (Mark 5vv25-43); a seriously disturbed young man who is re-united with his father (Mark 9vv14-27); a widow, deprived of her only son, who is re-united with him even as she is about to make her last farewell (Luke 7vv11-17).
So always and especially during Mental Health Awareness Week the Cathedral’s beauty, silence and peace is there for the restoration of soul and body. It is a place of safety where a member of the clergy can be available if you want to talk, and where tension, anger and anxiety can be released through the offering of a prayer or intention. A lighted candle ensures that who you are and what you have left before God remains as a tangible symbol long after you have left the Cathedral.
Here are some tips and resources you may find useful:
Remember that your GP is the gateway to so much other support for mental health needs, and the mental health charity MIND has some very helpful tips on how to approach a GP and what to say. See the MIND website MIND or phone them on: 03001233393
Or, if you don’t feel comfortable discussing things with your GP, you can contact the Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Team: or phone them on: 03330 322958
Information about this and many other organisations in Essex offering mental health advice and support on a range of issues including housing, abuse, stress, anxiety and depression and young people and mental health issues can be found at www.essex.gov.uk/mental-health/get-help-and-support
And don’t forget that the Canon Pastor here at Chelmsford Cathedral is Chair of a voluntary community organisation called Essex Mind and Spirit (EMS) which explores and supports the relationship between a person’s spirituality and faith and their mental health. One of the things which EMS seeks to do is precisely to try and re-connect people with their local community and all the friends and resources which may be available there. It does this through local ‘cluster groups’ which bring sources of community services and support together with people worried about their mental health, or wanting to know more about what’s out there, and to meet others with similar anxieties and questions. For more information contact Ivor by email: The Rev’d Canon Ivor Moody. or phone 01245 294493.
Loving God, we pray for those who are confronted by the sadness, ambiguity and confusion of mental illness,
and for those upon whom they depend for attention and compassionate care.
Look with mercy on all whose afflictions bring them weakness, distress, confusion or isolation.
Provide for them homes of dignity and peace,
give to them understanding helpers and the willingness to accept help.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.