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.”

Webinars July – December 2020

At the beginning of this year, the MHA Group was planning an event for World Mental Health Day, Saturday 10 October 2020; – then Covid-19 struck and lives changed for ever.   So instead of a single day conference (as in the previous 3 years), we are planning to host monthly Zoom Webinars, between July and December;  they are intended to offer times to reflect on and discuss together:

  • the effects of coronavirus on our mental health and spiritual wellbeing, both as individuals and church communities
  • the place of grief, loss and trauma, and our responses to it as people of faith
  • the impact of isolation and loss of community on our own mental health
  • making theological sense of Covd-19 and its effect on our mental health
  • what the future might look like

These webinars are ‘open to all’ with ‘no need to book in advance’ – the webinar Zoom links are included in the attached document –  we hope this proposed programme will be helpful to many:

  1. Weds 29 July 11am     Mental health during Covid-19: a space for reflection
  2. Tues 25 August 7.30pm     Mental health issues coming out of lockdown
  3. Mon 14 September 11am    Delayed trauma
  4. Sat 10 October 10am (World Mental Health Day)   Safeguarding and Mental Health  –  see diocesan approach: Safeguarding or mental health flowchart
  5. Thurs 19 November 2.30pm    A theological and reflective space
  6. Tues 15 December 7.30pm    Incarnation and Covid-19

Further Details & Webinar Links here:   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 10 years in the elderly care sector, working with people living with dementia and life-limiting illness.  Alongside this, Sue has been attached and licensed for the last 8 years to the Bishop’s Hatfield Clergy Team and is actively involved in pioneer church ministry.
  • The Revd Richard Allen  –  Richard has been a Mental Health Chaplain for 16 years and currently manages the Spiritual Care Service at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust (HPFT), which provides 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 had a keen interest in Mental Health and Wellness for around 20 years, 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 issues of a social responsibility / justice nature; in keeping with our diocesan initiative, Living God’s Love, to see ‘communities transformed’.


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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