Parish Wellbeing Group..................................

Caring for self and others

Vision statement

The Parish Wellbeing Group exists to help facilitate greater understanding and awareness amongst parishioners of mental health and mental ill health and of the local help available. It seeks to reduce the stigma and social isolation that many sufferers experience and to help make everyone welcome. It does this through a variety of means including: the coordination of relevant training opportunities, the sharing of information on Church noticeboards and the Parish Website; and by seeking to enable and promote relevant social and group activities and events, including Mental Health Awareness Day and Week each year.


Suicide is the greatest cause of death in under35s in the UK and in most countries – and a significant part of the reason for the high number is the taboo that there seems to have been on talking about it.

A number of initiatives are now trying to change this – the largest – The Baton of Hope – has been touring the country and on Wednesday 5th of July we were able to welcome the Baton to the community garden at St John the Baptist as one of the key stopping points on its Brighton leg.

In the garden – between the church and the hub – we saw the arrival of the baton, and inspiring talks particularly from 2 ambulance paramedics. The audience included Mike McCarthy – the co-instigator of the Baton of Hope. The day ended with a celebration event at the Dome.

After Brighton the baton went to London, for the 12th and final day of its journey – with stops to present at Downing Street and finally the Houses of Parliament. The culmination was a challenge the UK Government and public institutions to aim higher on suicide prevention – a request for a workplace charter and an education charter.

In addition the aims of the campaign,very close to the heart of our parish wellbeing group, are:

  • to boost a national conversation to eliminate the stigma around suicide
  • to connect the people and organisations already working in this area
  • summarise key prevention steps for institutions, communities and individuals, and share good practice and harmful actions to avoid
  • signpost people to simple online training
  • and improve signposting to resources and help for those in need.

The talks in our garden and at the Dome give us so much to think about. Memorably:

  • people contemplating suicide don’t want their life to end – they want the pain to end
  • HOPE can stand for Hold On – Pain Ends
  • If you don’t know what to say to someone close to suicide, the only wrong thing to say is nothing.

For further information see:


Recent Training on Mental Health and Wellbeing

Two training sessions have recently taken place in the Parish to help raise Mental Health Awareness . The first was arranged by the Diocese and was described by Kate Goddard as follows.

On Saturday 11th of March, five parishioners from the parish attended a half day workshop on Adult Mental Health Awareness. The course was held at the Fitzherbert hub and was facilitated by Lauren Carvalho a Bereavement Counsellor and suicide prevention Consultant.

The aim of the course was to develop the confidence to support someone in distress, who may be experiencing a Mental Health issue.

We discussed:-

* What is Mental Health and how to challenge Stigma and discrimination.

* Basic knowledge of some common Mental Health issues

* Factors which affect Mental Health

* Stress – spotting the signs and managing the impact.

An overview of some common conditions associated with Mental Health which included:-

Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Suicide, Self-Harm, Bi- polar, Schizophrenia.

We also gained insight into how to look after our own Mental Wellbeing.

This was an excellent course and would benefit anyone within the parish who has an interest in mental health issues; and in particular in supporting someone with mental health problems. Further courses are scheduled and offered by Lauren at a subsidised rate in the Diocese as well as whole day courses and a two-day Mental Health First Aider Course.The Second Course was run by Rachel Kenny a Parishioner in the Kemptown end of the Parish. It took place on Sunday May 7th starting at 12.45pm with a shared lunch with the actual session running from 1.30 to 3.15pm. 11 Parishioners took part. The aim of the session was to explore what we mean by the term mental health and to develop greater confidence in welcoming people in Church who may be experiencing such distress.

Whilst reflecting on the nature of mental health we were encouraged to consider the many factors that can contribute to, and/or trigger poor mental health. In relation to supporting people, the importance of active listening, maintaining healthy boundaries, as well as ways of coping with challenging behaviour and importance of self-care were all discussed in this helpful introductory session. It is hoped that further interactive training of this kind can be offered to the Parish going forward.