Mental health champions sought for MindMattersCOI project
Training and funding available.
The Church of Ireland’s Mental Health Promotion project – MindMattersCOI – has received great support so far. Over 1,200 lay members and 50% of the clergy responded to the survey and many have already responded to the call to become mental health champions. The results of the research will be available shortly on the MindMattersCOI website and some initial findings are below.
The next phase of the project will focus on improving mental health literacy (defined below). To this end, the MindMattersCOI team is calling for people to sign up as mental health champions / volunteers. They would like as many people as possible from across the country to get involved and become ambassadors for mental health in parishes and the wider community.
Would you consider becoming a volunteer and/or be able to encourage others, both clergy and lay members of the Church, to get involved? There will be a wide variety of training on offer as well as funding available for local projects that support mental health literacy.
As mentioned above, some of the key findings of the survey include:
- both members and clergy agreed that the Church of Ireland has a role to play in promoting positive mental health;
- bishops note that they can provide the strong leadership required to effect positive and lasting change in relation to mental health attitudes and awareness;
- 96% of respondents felt that Covid–19 had had a significant impact on people’s mental health;
- family, friends and other connections were identified as key contributors to positive mental health;
- respondents reported that, although they have positive attitudes towards mental health issues, these still carry a significant level of stigma within the community;
- in contrast to other studies among churches and other communities of faith, respondents did not identify clergy as a primary source of help in dealing with mental health issues; and
- a significant number of clergy feel that the Church currently does not provide sufficient support for their mental health.
Based on the findings of the research, the next phase of the project will focus on improving mental health literacy.
This is defined as:
- understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health;
- understanding mental health problems and their treatments;
- decreasing stigma related to mental health problems; and
- assisting people to seek help effectively.