Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage

Mental Health Awareness and Wellness

“Let’s make our churches and chaplaincies places of welcome and inclusion for people living with mental ill-health.”

World Mental Health Day 2021 falls on a Sunday – Sunday 10 October 2021.  Perhaps this year more than ever, it offers an opportunity to us to reflect on mental health in general and the 2021 theme ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ .

For your use, here are some resources – suggestions for your consideration – we hope a ‘starting point’ for you to consider if and how you might use 10th October 2021 to think about the mental health of God’s creation, either globally or locally, or both:  2021 MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES


Details & contacts for Mental Health Services by district.

July – December 2020 – webinars

In response to the lockdown imposed by Covid-19, a series of webinars were planned to offer some time for reflection and discussion:    WEBINARS JULY-DECEMBER 2020

Promotional Flyer for Webinars here: ‘It’s Okay Not To Be Okay’ – Webinars July-December 2020

May 2020 – new items:


Leading work in this area, the MHA (Mental Health Awareness) Planning Group includes:

  • The Revd Sue Stilwell  –  Sue has been a Chaplain for 11 years in the elderly care sector, working with people living with dementia and life-limiting illness.  Alongside this, Sue is part of the Bishop’s Hatfield Clergy Team and actively involved in pioneer church ministry.
  • The Revd Richard Allen  –  Richard has been a Mental Health Chaplain for 17 years and currently manages the Spiritual Care Service at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust (HPFT), providing mental health and learning difficulty care services in Hertfordshire and neighbouring counties.
  • Mrs Wendy Waters  –  Wendy is a Reader at St Mark’s Church, Bedford.  Wendy has a keen interest in Mental Health and Wellness after having become a Carer for a close family member.  Wendy has a long-held passion to remove the stigma around mental ill-health and to help improve the care and treatment of those affected by it.
  • Mrs Janet Bird  –  Janet is a member of the Diocesan Board for Mission and Ministry.  Over many years serving the diocese, Janet has been a leading voice to encourage and support the church’s engagement with social responsibility matters, serving our diocesan initiative, Living God’s Love, to see ‘communities transformed’.
  • Mrs Mano Pillai  –  Mano is a member of one of our Bedford town centre churches, and an expert by experience.   Sharing from her own experiences and reflections, Mano has contributed  to the ‘Break the Stigma’ campaign in Bedford and the ‘Let’s be Open about Mental Health’. a pioneering project in Bedfordshire and Luton.

Previous events include:

19 October 2019:  Training Day with ‘Mind in mid-Herts’ on MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS (MHA)

This 2019 session was offered, following the day conference held in 2018 , which explored our welcome to those living with mental ill-health.  The 2018 day was designed to equip people who would like to better understand mental health and enable them to offer some direction and support, while the 2019 session gave more detailed insight into named conditions, from experts working in this field.

Below are the training notes and handouts from October 2019:

  1. MHA 19-10-19 – Anxiety
  2. MHA 19-10-19 – Depression
  3. MHA19-10-19  – Bipolar Disorder
  4. MHA 19-10-19 – Eating Disorders
  5. MHA 19-10-19 – OCD
  6. MHA 19-10-19 – Personality Disorders
  7. MHA 19-10-19 – Schizophrenia
  8. MHA 19-10-19 – Training Notes
  9. MHA 19-10-19 – Active Listening, Helping & Self-Care

Responding to the challenge of mental ill-health within our communities and congregations is essential if our churches and chaplaincies are to be places of welcome and inclusion for people living with mental ill-health.

It was for this reason that a gathering of parish clergy, pastoral teams and professionals working in the field of mental ill-health came together in October 2018 – hosted by the newly formed Mental-Health & Well-Being Network – to explore ways in which practical ideas, based on the needs of their own communities, could be turned into local initiatives of welcome and inclusion.  On this occasion, a colleague from MIND brought an insightful presentation, see:

There are some excellent examples of good, practical projects running in our diocese.  Some of these are on a large scale such as the well-established Connect Cafe at Soul Survivor Church in Watford, or The Lantern at St Paul’s Church, St Albans, which offers counselling services and works positively to break down stigma and encourage openness.  Others on a smaller scale cater for small numbers of people in ways such as one-to-one befriending and listening.

The Church of England nationally also offer resources for mental health issues, see:  Mental Health Matters 

Our ongoing aim is to make known and share good practice generally, to encourage one another.  No church needs to do anything on its own if it isn’t confident or doesn’t think it has the resources.  In almost every locality there will be opportunity to work ecumenically, with other church denominations,  or across faiths.   Also it is helpful to collaborate with other organisations and charities  –  see:  Useful Links

If you are looking for help with a new initiative or have some good ideas to share, please use one of the following options:

  • Sharing Forum  –  comments/questions can be posted in this private, password-protected forum – send Password Request
  • alternatively, send your question directly to Carol Chisnall at diocesan office, – this will be directed to a member of the Mental-Health & Well-Being Network.

Pray this prayer with us – written for World Mental Health Day by Alison Webster, the Oxford Diocesan Deputy Director of Mission (Social Responsibility) – shown here with permission:


World Mental Health Day is held on 10 October every year since 1992.  You may like to know more about this dedicated Day and start to plan how your church or chaplaincy may be involved in the future – find out more:  World Mental Health Day

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