Churches are frequently on the frontline when it comes to supporting people experiencing mental ill health, something which motivated primary school teacher and church leader Alex Povey to try out Livability’s new Live Well Together course.
[thrive_link color=’orange’ link=’https://livability.org.uk/resources/live-well-together/’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Find out more about Live Well Together[/thrive_link]
Designed to enable church communities to develop healthy habits to foster ongoing good mental health and a mutually supportive culture, the one-day course appealed to Alex and colleague Fiona, who took part on behalf of St Paul’s Anglican church in Stoke-on-Trent.
‘As a church leadership team, we’re passionate about supporting people’s mental health. I know from experience, and my husband’s, what a massive impact mental health issues have on your life. As a church, we want to reach out and see the need in the wider world, in schools – well, everywhere!’
The course explores a church’s particular experience and understanding of mental health, looks at perspectives from the Bible and enables the community to find practical ways to take action together. It’s designed to be a starting point to build from and to enable the church to avoid mental health ‘crisis management’.
‘Not everybody accepts that mental health is something that affects all of us, and I found Live Well Together great as a way of establishing that and seeing what the Bible says,’ Alex says. ‘It’s great on finding strategies that help people to talk about mental health, sometimes without realising they are doing this! For instance, we looked at using weather symbols to help people describe how they are feeling.’
Alex and Fiona are excited about the impact Live Well Together could have on the wider community. ‘We’ve got a modern building which gets used often by the community, where we have lots of good links,’ Alex explains. ‘We’re in a mixed area socially, with private and social housing, in the centre of Stoke. Whatever your age, social background or circumstances, people experience poor mental health, across the board.’
The church is currently reaching out with a lunchtime drop-in for allcomers, with a culture of support for any issues people are facing, including mental health. St Paul’s also plans to run Livability’s Lifting the Lid course for Lent, a six-week Bible study course on emotional and mental wellbeing.
[thrive_link color=’orange’ link=’https://livability.org.uk/resources/’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]See more of our resources exploring mental health and wellbeing[/thrive_link]