Diocese of Chichester



Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing

‘However we do it, let’s have a conversation about Mental Health’

Hello, I am Elle Weaver and have been appointed as Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisor for Together in Sussex, the joint venture between the Diocese of Chichester and the Church Urban Fund. My work will introduce a Sussex wide programme of information, resources and training sessions for churches and communities enabling effective support for those with mental health and wellbeing concerns.

Almost everyone will be touched by issues around mental health at some point in their lives, either through their own illness or the struggles of a loved one. 1 in 4 of us are emotionally unwell at any one time. Sadly, mental illness still carries a stigma and many find it hard to talk about. Church communities are well placed to help and support those who are struggling.

Part of my role is to inform people about mental health and wellbeing concerns, by having conversations and building relationships so we can together remove the fear and stigma around mental health. By doing this we can gain a better understanding of how to help those who are finding life difficult.

I can also provide a range of resources (see below) which you can use to start having conversations within your churches. I am also a resource, so please contact me for information, support, advice. Working together will enable us to have greater success. I would welcome the opportunity to meet and talk to Deaneries, Parishes etc. As churches we can intervene with friendship, support and raising awareness. You can’t make things worse by friendship and loving. As Mother Teresa says ‘Let us all meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginnings of love’

I hope you have looked at the relevant information and advice and tried the self-help options? Perhaps you have already accessed support from the suggested apps, websites and organisations listed below? If you are still struggling to find help, please contact me, Elle Weaver.

Mob: 07751 873735

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13


In an emergency:

  • If you are concerned about an immediate risk of harm - either to yourself or someone else - then phone 999.
  • Go to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department. In some hospitals, this will be called the Emergency Department. There are staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who will be able to assess you and give you the appropriate help.
  • Samaritans – Telephone 116123 -
    Provides help and support to people in a crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The Stay Alive app is a pocket suicide prevention resource, full of information which we hope will help you stay safe. You might find it useful if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. The app includes a safety plan, customisable reasons for living and a life box where you can store photos that are important to you. You can download it for free on Android and iOS. It has been produced with Grassroots Suicide Prevention, a charity that supports communities to prevent suicide.

Apps:

  • Live from Rest - combining meditation with the Bible
  • Breathe (for anxiety and breathing)
  • Headspace (for mindfulness exercises - free 10 day basics pack)
  • Emoodji (specifically designed for students battling the ups and downs of Uni life)
  • Calm Harm (for managing the urge to self-harm)
  • Stay Alive (for suicide prevention)
  • Calm (meditation and mindfulness)

Awareness training modules


Mental Health First Aid:

There are a number of deliverers of mental health first aid; in the same way people in church are often trained in first aid, it would be helpful to ask if there were people in the congregation who would like to be trained in mental health first aid. e.g. St John’s ambulance run courses.


Renew Wellbeing cafes:

These are faith based welcoming spaces for those with mental health issues. They incorporate a rhythm of prayer with open welcome and support. The cafes are flourishing in churches across the country.


Places of welcome:

  • Places of Welcome - Whilst not specifically focussing on mental health, the cafes welcome all on an equal footing; this is a model worth investigating.

Bible passages that might be helpful to someone suffering with mental health:

There are many Bible passages and characters in the Bible that reflect personal anger, sadness and depression. Although hope can sometimes be difficult to read in the midst of darkness, it is good to be reminded of God’s goodness and love that is steadfast, faithful and enduring.

  • Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, noranything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Psalm 18:1-6 I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.

Theology and mental health reading

This is a small selection of books out of a large number written on all aspects of mental health:

  • ASH, Christopher, Out of the Storm: Grappling with God in the book of Job. IVP (2010 )
  • COLWELL, John E., Why have you forsaken me? A personal reflection on the experience of desolation. Paternoster, (2010)
  • LEDGER, Chris and BRAY, Wendy, Insight into Depression, Waverley Abbey Insight Series. CWR (2009)
  • LOCKLEY, Dr. J, A Practical Workshop for the Depressed Christian. Authentic (2001)
  • LONGSON, Peter, God in the dark: Rebuilding faith when bad stuff happens. Wild Goose Publications (2012)
  • ROWE, D., Breaking The Bonds: Understanding Depression, Finding Freedom. London, Harper Collins (1991)
  • WELCH, Edward T., Looking up from the stubborn darkness (2011)
  • WOLPERT, L., Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression. London: Faber & Faber, (2011)