In 2006, a small working group within the Marriage and Family Life Project Office met to consider how best the spiritual and pastoral needs of families affected by mental illness could be better supported.
This issue was raised during Listening 2004: My Family My Church and as a result a leaflet ‘What is Life Like if you or someone in your family has mental health problems?’ was developed and published.
You can find out more about Listening 2004 can be found on the Marriage and Family Life website.
The group, its expertise and contacts, were involved in developing materials for the Day for Life on Mental Health in 2008, as well as the Day for Life on Suicide in 2009.
Funds raised as a result of the Day for Life collections made possible the creation of a new part-time project officer post and £70,000 of small grants were distributed to foster examples of good practice to further the provision of appropriate pastoral care for those with mental health needs, their families and carers.
The 11 funded projects offered help and support to people across the Catholic community – from school children to dementia sufferers.
Several of the projects sought to increase pastoral mental health support for parishioners, sanctuary seekers, for homeless people and for parents with complex difficulties and needs. Grants were also made available for a research project looking at young Catholics and stress and the mental health of Irish travellers in prison and a national mental health training programme called ‘Welcome me as I am’.
Visit the Catholic Mental Health Project website for more.