Church of Scotland’s Pledge To Action

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The Church of Scotland Presbytery of Hamilton is seeking to inspire congregations and communities alike to tackle the stigma that all too often surrounds mental health. In partnership with Stigma Free Lanarkshire the Presbytery is leading the way with it’s commitment to develop a bespoke Action Plan. This anti stigma Action Plan will have several aims. Firstly to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and the associated stigma but also to encourage people to open up conversation around mental health and mental health issues. It has been recognised that the importance of tackling stigma one conversation at a time cannot be underestimated. One of the ways the Presbytery plan to do this is by introducing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Sunday. It’s the start of campaign that is being viewed as a long term commitment. The Presbytery and partners gathered to sign the Stigma Free Lanarkshire pledge on the 16th of March to celebrate and share this commitment with the people of Lanarkshire. The pledge was co-signed by Church of Scotland and NHS representatives.

"Stigma is deeply embedded within our culture and so all of society should have an interest in challenging it. However, it is particularly fitting for the christian community to have a role in this. In biblical times so many people lived with shame and disgrace, excluded from the community. The story of Jesus in the gospels shows that time and again he challenged the shame and dishonour which prevented people living their lives to the full. He did this sometimes by just sitting down with people and sharing food and friendship. Sometimes he conveyed in words to people who had been labelled as worthless (and who had come to believe this about themselves), that in truth they were precious and valued human beings who were close to the heart of God. So challenging stigma and discrimination should be part of our DNA as a church. 

Of course it is easy for Presbytery to sign a Pledge but the Church and Society Committee will do all that it can to encourage both the Presbytery and local churches within our bounds to engage with the Action Plan, raising awareness of the stigma attached to mental ill health and challenging attitudes and actions which perpetuate it.  Hamilton Presbytery is delighted to join with many others in signing this Pledge and committing to this cause" Derek Pope, (Convener of Church and Society Committee)

 “We need to build communities where people help other people, it’s about people being kind to each other and trying to rebuild that sense of community. Services have rising demand and limited resource so we all need to support each other. We all have mental health and it’s not just about mental ill health, it’s about supporting each other through life’s ups and downs. It’s a preventative approach.” Jenny Hutton, Interim Public Health & Wellbeing Development Manager, NHS

For more about the Presbytery of Hamilton please go to http://www.presbyteryofhamilton.co.uk/home

Left to right back row:

Rev Jim Stewart, Chaplain to the Moderator, Rev. Dr Gordon McCracken, Presbytery Clerk, Rachel Bottomley, Development Officer, Stigma Free Lanarkshire,  Elizabeth Cruickshank PA to the Presbytery Clerk, Audrey Bremner, Development Officer, Stigma Free Lanarkshire, Avril Cutler, Programme Coordinator, Stigma Free Lanarkshire, Roberta Hutton, former Moderator, Gerald Szafranek, Stigma Free Lanarkshire and the Rev. Derek Pope, Convener of the Presbytery Church and Society Committee

Left to right front row:

The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Jenny Hutton, Interim Public Health and Wellbeing Development Manager, NHS and the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie, Moderator of Hamilton Presbytery.

If you need support now you can contact:

NHS24 – Phone 111 to access urgent health advice out of hours when your GP practice is closed.

Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87 (free to call 6pm – 2am)
www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk

Samaritans – 116123 (free 24 hr service) www.samaritans.org

Childline 0800 1111 (free 24 hr service) www.childline.org.uk

 

If you would like to learn more about Stigma Free Lanarkshire visit http://www.elament.org.uk/lanarkshire-recovery-network/ or telephone 01698 265232.

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