Mental health problems have been surfacing more often in the past decade. With the recent Covid pandemic, churches are aware that there is a mental health tsunami forming on the horizon.
Churches can pool their resources to find ways of helping people improve their mental health. A number of fresh expressions of church can also be good starting points for people who want to connect with God through nature. Forest Church and Mossy Church are prime examples. Churches may also be able, if they have access to trained personnel in their congregations, to offer tools to help people address mental health issues.
A holistic approach to mission takes seriously the whole person; body, soul, spirit and mind. If the church is to reflect the love of God for human beings, then we need to attend to the whole person. Mental health has sometimes been very low on the list of priorities for the church for a whole host of reasons.
Supporting family wellbeing in Warwick
Christian charity TLG (Transforming Lives for Good) has over 21 years’ experience equipping churches to understand and walk alongside children and families who are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing.
TLG partners with St Michael’s Budbrooke and St Paul’s (both part of Warwick Churches Together), who have each run Make Lunch clubs for several years.
Val and Audrey (project coordinators) share how they’ve been able to collaborate in lots of ways, such as sharing food supplies, donations and school referrals. Both Val and Audrey highlight the relationships they’ve been able to build with families and how important it’s been to support children and families in their emotional wellbeing.
In 2020, both churches joined TLG’s Box of Hope care package project. As they plan for the future, they’re working with additional churches too in providing donations, social media and digital support. Both have seen huge support from volunteer teams and the wider community. Val, project coordinator, at St Paul’s Warwick shared, “If you think you can’t do it, God can. He’s come through every single time. He’s provided so abundantly for our town”.
Churches have begun to respond to this concern with a growing set of resources.
A number of useful resources are linked to below:
- Both the Methodist and Baptist Churches have produced good resource pages.
- Kintsugi Hope (a Japanese word meaning ‘golden joinery’ – the art of repairing broken pottery by infusing the lacquer with gold dust or using gold leaf) is a Christian organisation that wants to see a world where mental and emotional health is understood and accepted, with safe and supportive communities for everyone to grow and flourish. They have recently launched Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Groups, and these are now available online, enabling churches to reach their congregations and communities with resources to support people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries are now offering free small group courses.
- Livability have some helpful resources for churches, with a community approach to wellbeing. Called Together for Good, it’s a new, free resource designed to provide churches with Bible Studies and group exercises exploring the themes of happiness, meaning and wellbeing.
- The Wellbeing Journey produced by HOPE Together, is a new resource that can be used by churches as an evangelistic tool in a variety of contexts.
- Change Grow Live have a page of advice, especially aimed at those under 21 and struggling with alcohol or drug dependency.
- Our friends at Theos have also produced some useful materials on mission and mental health that are worth viewing
- TLG (Transforming Lives for Good) has over 21 years’ experience equipping churches to understand and walk alongside children and families who are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing, and has produced a range of resources: