Here at ESPS Ministries we are in full support of and very grateful for Mental Health Awareness Week UK 18-24th May.

According to statistics 1 in 6 people in the UK will experience mental health issues each year. In recent times there has been a welcome increase in the amount of organisations who are profiling and providing support for Mental Health issues. This is an issue close to our hearts as we look to provide support and encouragement for those in ministry.

Sadly there still appears to be stigma and a silence around mental health in many of our churches and Christian ministries. Many pastors, pastors spouses, and leaders have done, and still do, suffer in silence, isolation, and despair, feeling a sense of shame and guilt preventing them from speaking out. There can be a false belief and a mis-informed theology of illness where any sickness in body or mind is interpreted as weakness, sin, or a test of our faith, so the fear to speak out and seek help can be enormous. Vulnerability, trust issues, and life in the goldfish bowl can also shackle many from reaching out for the help they desperately need.

Lies need to be confronted and broken. We need to allow ourselves to process our true thoughts, feelings, and needs, as well as confronting the often negative internal dialogue concerning what other people may think about us. Shame also needs to be broken, especially if a person is on sick leave or is taking prescribed medication. These are actually part of the wonderful provision God makes for us to help us move towards wholeness and wellbeing.

A fresh perspective of the truth of who we are, and how we can get help to recover is needed. All of this needs to be talked about freely. We also need a fresh understanding and experience of the unconditional love and compassion of God for each of us.

The Covid -19 pandemic has left many people feeling more fragile in their mental health. Many pastors are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, are over functioning and even facing burnout by supporting others without getting support themselves.

Don’t suffer or struggle in silence. Speak out. We cannot help others when we ourselves need help. If we as a ministry can support you in any way, then please do get in touch. If you would just like to chat, or if we can sign post you to some of the many helpful organisations available, let us know.

As well as being here to listen, if it would be of help to you, please share your story and experience with us by email, especially if you think it may help others. Anything you share will be treated with the strictest confidence.

And don’t forget friends - be kind, to yourself as well as to others.

God Bless.

D.MacNeil

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