Introducing some amazing projects, small and large, in parishes, dioceses and amongst our ecumenical partners.
If you would like to start something similar in your area, do contact the groups below for information and advice.
Kirsty Wilkes is a worship leader at St Barnabas' Franche in Kidderminster. She uses puppets in all age worship to explore the issues of mental health and to tell stories of lived experience - including, her own experience of depression. By using two puppets, she can provide a dialogue and explore the fears and negative thoughts of the individual and some different ways of dealing with the issues.
'All of Me' is a short course written and run by Alma Johnson at St Andrew's Leyland.
Its main aim is to support people who have mental health problems and who are currently receiving treatment locally. It is a basic practical approach providing a framework for people with non-complex mental health problems to be more effective in their recovery. I believe that finding hope and meaning can help people recover from mental illness and offer protection against self destructive behaviours. My hope for our local church is that we would be a community which is active in combating Mental Health Stigma and is a place of safety for people, whatever their struggles in life. The most recent course was run in April 2015. We are also planning another Mental Health themed half day in October.
Alma also has two blogs which are of great value:
Over 30 years ago, Michael Lilley, founder of My Time, conceived the idea for My Time as a place in the community that people overcome with depression, could go to without an appointment and find hope. In 2002, this became a reality with the creation of My Time. In 2012, My Time CIC has evolved into Michael’s vision fully and the My Time idea is being promoted across the UK.
Our goal is to enable the individual to break down their internal and external barriers by bridging the gap between personal, workplace, and community needs in response to the challenges of a changing world.
My Time CIC aims to help achieve a dignified and equal society, and promotes and encourages a perspective that respects people, the environment and different cultures. It does this in two main ways:
My Time is based at All Saints Small Heath in Birmingham.
The idea of Our Health is essentially a spiritual concept that underlies faiths and philosophies everywhere: Pursue with others what you wish for yourself. If we want to embrace health for ourselves, then, as social persons, we will do so most effectively as we act together.
Find out more on the website
'Bring Me Sunshine'
is an occasional event that takes place at St Michael and All Angels Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire. Local complimentary therapists give free taster treatments and a qualified counsellor runs 'stress busting' workshops, visualisation and teaches coping strategies for anxiety, stress and depression. There is a bookstall, meditation corner, fair trade stall focussing on healthy snacks and treats and related gifts such as incense, relaxing oils, candles and beads. Lunch is provided by Church volunteers and the day is free, although donations are accepted.
HolyTrinity Upper Tooting Dementia Project
At Holy Trinity Upper Tooting they are running a monthly Act of Worship designed for people living with dementia and their carers. After the Act of Worship, the Alzheimer's Society runs 'Clover Cafe' in the Church hall to offer the chance for people to share their experiences and find support. Holy Trinity Dementia Project
A joint project between mental health charity Shared Voices and My Time Community Interest Company, it aims to create not only a lasting record but also a better understanding of the subject.
Service users of the charity will be recruited and trained in oral history techniques and archive skills to enable them to research and record the history of mental health and the treatment of patients in Birmingham.
The Sharing Hope Group
St John's Church, Chilcompton, in Somerset
In our church we recognised that we have many people who live with mental illness within our community, and that perhaps their emotional needs are overlooked, misunderstood or worse, ignored. We wanted to try to support them more actively, and so we set up the “The Sharing Hope Group”.
We meet once per month, to share the love of God with those who are suffering with distress or upset. We offer a non-judgemental and listening-ear, and understanding to those who are suffering, and seek a sense of hope in the middle of sadness
The group aims to provide an informal place to come and share or to just ‘be’ with others, in a friendly, loving and trusting environment. There is tea and cakes, and opportunities to share concerns and worries, and for prayer. We enjoy friendship and fun together too! It is not therapy, but an informal opportunity to come and look for hope, and to be supported by each other.
We try to be very inclusive, so that weall share in each other’s burdens. Weall struggle with life at times- so there is no clear leadership within each session as such- we try to all support each other. The group always ends with a short prayer, mediation or thought for the day, and the opportunity for group members to have prayer ministry if they wish. We are very blessed that within the team who run it we are able to offer a range of different skills- someone who has worked in mental health for many years, an experienced nurse, as well as people who have suffered with mental health problems themselves, so are able to contribute to the session with personal experience.
The group has been running for 6 months now, and we have had 8 people regularly attending. We are slowly growing to understand each other’s needs, and learning how we can support each other more effectively. It is still early days, and the group will still evolve. If you would like to know more about our group , please contact Justine North Tel: 01761 232219 firstname.lastname@example.org
In Epsom, 'Love Me Love My Mind', a charity was registered in 2008 and seeks to break down stigma about mental illness and signpost the way to resources available. They do this by holding conferences (like Epsom Mental Health Week) running two weekly drop ins and working with a large and diverse group of people who are equally interested in mental Health.
The latest creative endeavour from Mental Fight Club; it is a relaxing café and imaginative space open to all, located in the crypt of St George the Martyr Church, opposite Borough tube station.
At St Peter's Harrow:
SPACE is a listening and signposting service. We are here to listen to you, and help you get connected with the support that you might need. Our aim is to provide young women in harrow between the ages of 11 and 24, a space and a place to be heard. We are not here to give advice or tell you what to do, we are here to listen.
Their website is currently under construction but contact details are available until the website is finished.
St Cuthbert’s is a mission church of St Mary’s church Cheadle,built in 1887 but greatly renovated in 2006. We felt that we wanted to make the best use of our building for outreach into our community. There are a lot of people with mental health problems so we approached MIND to set up in partnership with them a drop in session for local people with any sort of mental health problem. We have been meeting fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon 2-4 p.m. for the past 3 years. We run a variety of activities which include art & craft, games, listening to music, writing & reading our own poems, occasional cooking & trips to our local amateur theatre twice a year. We always provide tea & coffee fruit & home-made cakes which prove very popular. On Christmas day we do a full Christmas dinner for anyone who wishes to come. We have established good relationships with a number of folk but many just come for a limited amount of time or only occasionally.