World Mental Health Day - 10 October 2015

World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. WMHD is an annual program held on 10 October to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide. Mental Health Week in Australia is held from Sunday 4 to Saturday 10 October 2015.

This year, the theme is Mental Health begins with me!

The theme aims to encourage people to personal ownership of their mental health and well-being.

One in five Australians will experience mental illness this year. We all have a role to play in looking after our own mental health and well-being. When our parishes gather, nearly everyone will know someone who has a mental illness of varying severity and length. Because of the stigma attached to it, few will come forward, but it is there.How can we support people living with the stigma of mental illness?

People living with mental health challenges, are no less members of the Body of Christ than anyone else. People with mental illness and their families often feel isolated from their faith community and thus isolated from God. Isolation is often caused by social stigma: the idea that mental illness is a question of character or a punishment from God.

As a faith community, we can offer spiritual comfort through our prayerful presence in people’s lives by acknowledging their pain and supporting them through the healing and recovery process.

Parishes may like to highlight the gifts and talents of people with mental health challenges, their families and support people. It is also an appropriate time to recognise the importance of spirituality and well-being.

Everyone can take part in looking after their own wellbeing and good health, which is important to everyone.

It is a reminder to look after our own well-being, especially our spiritual well-being.

(SOURCE: National Catholic Partnership on Disability – Mental Illness 415 Michigan Avenue NE Suite 95 Washington, DC USA 20017-4501)


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