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Can the Church effectively respond to the mental health crisis in the UK?

Jack Palmer-White

Think back to who was at church with you on Sunday. Chances are, there were people in your congregation who were dealing with a mental health problem. Research shows that in an average week, 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem. This figure is likely to be even higher in the coming year, given the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

You’ll likely already be keenly aware of the scale of the mental health crisis - on your church community, on young people, on those who are already vulnerable due to poverty, ill health, or unstable relationships. You’re likely to have friends and family who have experienced poor mental health and you may even have experienced this yourself.

We’ve been hearing for years how NHS provision is significantly over-stretched, particularly in mental health support. Waiting lists for assessments and therapeutic support are at an all-time high and many people who do not have the means to access private therapy are without this vital care.

So, if the mental health crisis in the UK is so big, what can the church do? Should churches be supporting good mental health? Can we effectively support and complement NHS provision? 

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