Mental Health - Churches don't talk about it.

Date added: 09/11/21

Resonate 2021 - Mental Health

Recently, we focused our Resonate questions around the theme of mental health. We wanted to hear your views around mental health struggles, and how your churches are seeking to help tackle these. This short report will give an overview of the findings.

We asked if you had ever experienced a mental health issue, and 43% of you said yes. This fits with the national figure that around half of the population will experience mental health issues at some point during their lifetime.

Based on the responses we received, we found that the frequency with which churches speak about mental health varies considerably. Nearly half ‘rarely’ speak about it, and a further 9% ‘never’ do. But on the other hand, a quarter speak about mental health ‘several times a year’ and a further 11% speak about it at least once a month (see chart below).

We asked you a variety of questions on mental health and the Church. Many thought that involvement with the Church helps mental health issues (81% agreed or strongly agreed, see chart below), which reflects positively on the Church and the community and support it can provide for people. However, not all views on how the Church tackles mental health were positive. For example, the fact that 81% believed churches need to become more tolerant towards people with mental health issues demonstrates that churches could be doing more about this.

You provided examples of initiatives your churches have introduced to improve mental health. Here are a selection:

  • Weekly group using art as therapy
  • Regular meetings in care homes
  • Running group
  • Wellbeing café
  • Phone calls to those living alone
  • Some acknowledged that it had been very difficult, or even impossible, to provide activities during the Covid-19 situation

Some helpful suggestions were given as to how churches could improve their provision for mental health challenges in future. These included:

  • Service booklet and clear explanation of service for those on the autism spectrum
  • Christian meditation exercises rooted in scripture
  • Talk about mental health issues more to break down the stigma
  • Share details of local counselling services, helplines, and professional therapists

The findings provided here are only a snapshot of the data we gathered. We’ll be using your responses to think further about how we can support churches in their mental health provision for congregations and local communities.