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Parishes called to support people with mental illness

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Parishes are being encouraged to look at ways of making people with mental health challenges more included in their communities during World Mental Health Week.

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The Australian Catholic Disability Council has produced mental health tips for parishes and other promotional material such as posters and prayer cards.

In his World Mental Health Day (October 10) message, Bishop Terence Brady, the Bishops’ Delegate for Disability Issues, called on the Church to use the occasion to encourage a truly pastoral view that “embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ”.

“To be authentic, this view must include every member of the community acknowledging their call, their gift and their presence,” he said.

“We cannot claim to be truly disciples of Jesus unless we are totally engaged in honouring His presence in each one and in building and nurturing this community to be a living witness of that presence.

“Clearly this is a revealed truth that is fundamental to our sense of our own real value. Just as clearly this truth should be so evident in our lived experience that others are drawn to know, understand and experience the Father’s love that Jesus reveals.”

Bishop Brady said people living with mental health challenges were no less members of the Body of Christ than anyone else.

“Obviously there are particular challenges to enabling their full participation in the life of the community,” he said.

“Some of these challenges are visible and many others not so clearly identified. Once we acknowledge these challenges we can work together to ensure that all the gifts that flow through the Body of Christ can be shared by each member of that Body.

“It is also a reminder to look after our own well-being, especially our spiritual well-being.

“How are we nourishing our well-being through our spiritualty?”

The Mental Health Week resources prepared by the Council can be accessed here.

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