Connection is Key
Responding to the new government mental health strategy.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ Charles Dickens
‘It was the best of times’, because over the past decades we have seen huge positive strides in our awareness of mental health, the importance of investing in it, and the acknowledgement that it is an area our churches need to be speaking into.
‘It was the worst of times’, because during a period which has seen the need for mental health service provision reach unprecedented levels, the government announced yesterday that it has scrapped it’s 10 year, cross government Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan.
The news provoked disappointment and frustration from one of the largest mental health charities in the country, Rethink — who responded with this statement:
“We are deeply disappointed to learn that the government is shelving its 10-year cross-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan. This decision signifies a failure to prioritise the nation’s mental health and challenge the causes of mental illness at the very moment that demand for support is soaring.”
At times like this it can feel that we who are living with or trying to support those with mental illness and poor mental health, are left in the dark as to how to gain access to the care and support so desperately needed.
At Kintsugi Hope, we recognise the importance of the need for government to have a clear vision and plan for how to equip and fund our mental health services; but we also know that there is power in connection and community.
Whilst connection and community are only one part of the puzzle of mental health service provision, they are the part that we can make a difference in.
Although we may feel powerless, we cannot forget the power in reaching out to those who are isolated or struggling. Connection is a vital human need and we want to be expanding it beyond our own social circles.
It might mean partnering with your local church to run a Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Group which seeks to create and safe and supportive space to talk about issues of mental health and wellbeing. Or it may be making a commitment to getting in touch with the friend you know who is on a mental health ward, checking in with the neighbour who is struggling to get outside or helping someone to access their local Mind or Rethink services — there are things we can do to make a difference.
Simply asking someone how they are and waiting for the answer can give someone struggling enough hope to get through a difficult day or the courage to contact the Samaritans, Hub of Hope or a local mental health charity.
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times — but together we can make the best in the worst of times by reaching out and sharing hope.