October is Mental Health Month and 10 October is World Mental Health Day (10/10), a good time to think through how we can support and care for those in our communities who are struggling with mental health concerns. We encourage you to use the following resources to help your church mark 10/10. Our aim is to reduce the stigma for those in your congregation facing mental health challenges.
“Our hope is that these resources will make a real and lasting impact on the mental and spiritual wellbeing of many in our churches and communities.” — Sarah & Rev. Dr Keith Condie, Co-Directors/Founders, Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute
Church Resource Pack
This free resource pack for World Mental Health Day contains a number of helpful tools including church announcements, Psalms of lament and comfort to read during services, specific written prayers for those experiencing mental illness and prayers for the end of the service. The pack also includes a list of topical and Christian books and websites that you may find useful. There is also a separate list of 10 TIPS. These tips are for those supporting someone with mental health challenges. These could be printed out and distributed at church or somewhere accessible.
Mike is the senior minister at an inner city church in Sydney where they see a huge range of mental health issues. Mike explains how his staff support and care for his congregation and encourage good self-care and making use of the services offered by the community. The Christian hope, he says, offers practical ways for the church to care for one another.
Mark is the senior minister at an inner city church in Sydney with a very diverse congregation. He encounters a number of people with mental illnesses and he offers a practical perspective for ministry in how to help people and how the Christian faith can lift people into a new way for living in a broken world.
Chris tells the story of her daughter Gillian who took her own life after struggling with severe mental health issues from the age of nine until her death at 26. She shares about the impact of Gillian’s illness on their family, as well as how she wrestled with God through this time and how God was with them through a very difficult and traumatic time.
A new Christian, Alex shares how his faith and church community have helped him learn to live with bi-polar. He was bullied as a teenager and experienced a variety of manic episodes.
Claudia shares about her struggle with depression and feeling sad most of the time. Her faith in Jesus makes all the difference in dealing daily with depression and anxiety, holding onto the truths of Scripture to sustain her in all she does.
Fiona is a trained Christian counsellor and has worked with people who experience anxiety and depression. But it was her family’s own experience in confronting the anxiety of her daughter that forms her story here, and the questions she’s asked as a parent and church member. Fiona has learnt to more deeply to depend on God.
Charlotte is a General Practitioner whose Christian faith informs how she looks after her patients. About 60% of all patients have mental health issues. She speaks about the importance of exercise, eating and sleep as well as the opportunity that churches have to help connect people from the community who are incredibly isolated.
Lyn is a clinical psychologist and a Christian. Lyn describes the types of issues that her clients come to see her for help. Her approach looks at how to help build a person’s resilience. She believes that the Christian faith and Christian communities have an enormous amount to offer.
Polly talks frankly about her struggles with eating disorders and other forms of anxiety and how isolating these can be. She found it difficult to talk because they are often misunderstood, but found in her church, friends who have accepted her. She’s learned to accept help and to watch others ask for help. Polly’s faith has helped her see how deeply God loves her.