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Participants at a Church and Society Commission seminar on mental health, at Church of Ireland House
Participants at a Church and Society Commission seminar on mental health, at Church of Ireland House
UK News

Church of Ireland launches major mental health programme

The Church of Ireland launched a major three-year all-island mental health promotion programme to coincide with World Mental Health Day on Saturday.

Called 'Mental Health Promotion across the Church of Ireland and Wider Community', the project aims to transform the understanding of, attitudes towards, and responses to mental health within the Church of Ireland and the wider community.

The programme has been made possible thanks to a significant grant from Allchurches Trust - one of the UK and Ireland's largest grant-making charities.

The study will look at attitudes to mental health within the church community and will track changes in those attitudes over a three year period.

At its culmination, the results of the research will shape what's described as a "an integrated programme of mental health promotion, support and training."

Individual dioceses will also be invited to apply for funding to support initiatives at a local level.

During the programme, the Church of Ireland will work with a range of other organisations, both state-sponsored and voluntary that are involved in mental health promotion.

Lessons learnt from the study will be shared with a range of government bodies and charities.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell welcomed the initiative and said: "The Church of Ireland is a church that seeks to serve the whole community and to engender hope at a very difficult time for everyone who lives on this island.

"That hope is based on our understanding of the generous gospel of Jesus Christ through sharing whatever resources and gifts we possess, as open-handedly as possible. My hope and prayer for this initiative is that as a serving church we will be able to be more effective in our ministry of comfort, of practical help and of hope, and in doing so to benefit those most in need within our communities and beyond."

Jeremy Noles, Head of Grants and Relationships at Allchurches Trust, said the church has always been on the frontline in carying for the vulnerable: "Poor mental health is one of the biggest issues facing our communities, and, as the devastating long-term impact of the pandemic becomes clearer, the need and opportunity for the Church to step up its support in this area is growing."

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