New resource addresses mental health stigma
A new web resource was launched this week to help churches be welcoming places for people with mental health issues.
The Mental Health Matters website has been developed by the Reverend Eva McIntyre, national co-ordinator of Mental Health Matters and a member of the Church of England's Committee for Ministry With and Among Deaf and Disabled People (CMDDP).
The website features news and events, pastoral and worship resources, videos, podcasts and downloads.
"The Church is well-placed to make a significant difference in the area of mental health," said McIntyre.
"We can be a force to end stigma, and we can also be a place of inclusion, welcome and ministry.
"Mental Health Matters is working to make mental wellbeing a priority in our churches today."
The Ven Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale and Acting Chair of CMDDP, said: "CMDDP warmly commends this new resource.
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"The Church is less than it is called to be when groups of people are excluded and this resource will help churches to be more welcoming and inclusive in their attitudes, worship and support of people with mental health issues."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, previously spoke out about the importance of churches addressing mental health stigma when he signed the Time to Change pledge in February.
At the time, he said: "Mental health issues touch the lives of every family and every congregation in England, the UK and across the globe.
"It is time we assigned stigma and discrimination to the history books, and started to talk more openly about the issue as a way of breaking down stigma and misunderstanding, and building more empathy and support for recovery.
"As a society we must take more responsibility for the negative attitudes that people with a mental illness face on a daily basis."