Faith and Mental Health
Research commissioned by Essex Mind and Spirit, chaired by Chelmsford Cathedral’s Vice-Dean Ivor Moody, has highlighted the positive contribution that faith communities can make to mental ill health management and recovery.
In the foreword to the research report he writes:
For Essex Mind and Spirit the report’s production and recommendations will help to ensure the promotion and progression of EMS’ vision for a sustained, constructive and valued cooperation between faith/belief groups, service users and those statutory bodies who provide mental health services in Essex.
Essex ‘Faith Covenant’
Following the publication of this ‘Mapping Project’ report, Ivor and a group of representatives from other faith communities and the voluntary and statutory services have been working with the Essex County Council towards establishing a ‘Faith Covenant’ for Essex.
Inspired by The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society Chaired by The Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms MP and made possible through the work of FaithAction - a Faith Covenant calls upon all faith communities and local authorities across the UK to:
- Commit to work together within a set of principles that guide engagement;
- Remove the mistrust that can exist on both sides;
- Promote open, practical working on all levels.
This results in
- Local authorities becoming confident in commissioning services from, and transferring assets to, appropriately qualified faith-based organisations, and including faith groups when they look for solutions to social needs;
- Faith groups start to recognise their contributions to the wider community and unlock their potential as advocates and providers in their locality, regardless of the religion or belief of those they serve.*
*source: ‘Faith in the Public Square, (FaithAction London)
A Faith Covenant for Essex was signed by many faith and public organisations and formally launched in October 2017. This was the first County-wide Covenant to be undertaken, and epresents a commitment to take action to build trust, strengthen community cohesion and launch activity to help tackle isolation and loneliness in Essex communities.
Essex Mind and Spirit
Following Essex Mind and Spirit’s (EMS) County-wide conference on ‘Tackling Mental Health Within a Multi Faith Context’ at Chelmsford Cathedral in April 2013, EMS followed up on one of the recommendations made as a result of that conference, and in April 2017 staged another County-wide conference at Chelmsford Cathedral on ‘Spirituality and Dementia’, and we hope that out of the many good and positive things to emerge from that conference, EMS will be able to develop and deepen its work in this area, and continue to increase its network of communication and cooperation with individuals, organisations and agencies working to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and positively promote wellbeing for thoser experiencing mental health issues.
Find out about Essex Mind and Spirit at www.essexmindandspirit.org.uk
To stay in touch with news about faith and mental health issues sign up to our mailing list.