Comment from Harborough churches: With mental health in mind, ‘help’ might just be the bravest and best thing you will ever say

Every week, the churches of Market Harborough write for the Harborough Mail. This week, it is the turn of Revd James Pickersgill, Team Vicar at St Dionysius Church

Viewpoint by Revd James Pickersgill, Team Vicar at St Dionysius Church

One of the high street banks has a slogan running at the moment: ‘M’ – it’s good to talk about the ‘M’ word – meaning money. Whilst this global pandemic has caused widespread anxiety about money, there is another ‘M’ word which it is good to talk about and which doesn’t always get the exposure it needs. This ‘M’ word is mental health.

I write not as an expert but as someone who in recent years has suffered from mental health challenges.

Mental Health Awareness Week

My hope by writing this is that it helps anyone who is experiencing mental health symptoms.

Just like Covid-19, no-one is immune from mental health issues, they do not discriminate by age, sex, race, wealth or any other factors and can come upon us at any time, usually without warning. Life situations affect each of us in many different ways, unique as we are (see how Psalm 139 in the Bible emphasises this).

Mental Health Awareness Week is next week (May 18-24). There are some signposts for information below – but if you are concerned yourself or about anyone else, please don’t leave it until the 18th but talk to someone now.

For Christians, it is reassuring that biblical heroes such as Moses, Elijah, Jacob, Job, David and Paul all experienced great distress and depression. Jesus himself expressed the full spectrum of human emotion in his suffering as well and draws close to us when we call on his name in faith.

Revd James Pickersgill, Team Vicar at St Dionysius Church

I’m so grateful to God for my family, friends, GPs and NHS staff, church and school communities, ministry colleagues and others who have, and still do, support, care and help me when dark times bite hard.

As this global pandemic continues, I’m aware that there is increased anxiety about the future. Please know you’re not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery. ‘Help’ is the bravest thing I’ve ever said – my prayer is that if you think you need to do the same, please find someone you can say it to - it may just be the bravest and best thing you will ever say.

Peace of the running waves to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,

A boy, a mole, a fox and a horse: Cartoon by Charlie Mackesy.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,

Deep peace of the shining stars to you,

Deep peace of the shades of night to you,

Moon and stars always giving light to you,

Deep peace of Christ, the Son of Peace, to you.

(Traditional Gaelic Blessing)

Revd James Pickersgill is Team Vicar at St Dionysius Church

Helpful website: https://mindandsoulfoundation.orgOr visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-weekThe Bower House in Harborough has launched a telephone support line on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9.00 am – 4.00 pm, Thursday 2.00 – 8.00 pm. It is available for anyone to call when support is needed. All details are on the Bower House website www.bowerhouse.btck.co.uk. Support Line numbers are 01858 469257 or 01858 463708.