Mental Health

First published on: 3rd December 2019

I wonder if the profusion of days and weeks dedicated to any and every cause find their origins in Christian festivals and Feast Days - special days to remember and focus our thoughts. Recently it was Mental Health week, and so many methods of communication were used to remind us of the struggles of those who face daily battles with poor mental health. 

It was wonderful to see the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledge his personal issues, leading to a daily blog online from the national church. However, these concerns are ongoing not neatly wrapped up in a special day or week marking it. As we approach the shortest months, the darkest and coldest days and nights, and the season when jollity and family are supposed to give us greatest joy, we remember the reality. More people experience deep lows, there is an increase in suicide attempts, more ask for counselling, and more people visit solicitors in January seeking to end marriages. It can be a deeply depressing time of year.

Recently I went to see Reasons to Stay Alive, a remarkable play based on Matt Haigs bestselling book. It was profoundly moving, as was seeing the board in the theatre foyer inviting people to add their own reasons. Haig recounts his own story of suicidal thought and intention in a way which has helped many to feel deeply understood. But he contends that Depression Lies when it tells us that life is not worth living, and we are not worthy of life. Rearrange the letters of depression and we find I pressed on. Matt did and discovered so much more.

As we rejoice in our hope in Jesus Christ, the one who is the truth, may we be those who show his ongoing compassion, truth, hope and reason for living to those around us this Christmas season.

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