Diocese of Portsmouth

    Lent Appeal to help mental health charities

    14 Feb. 2019

    THIS year’s Bishop’s Lent Appeal will raise money to help those with mental health difficulties.

    The main recipient will be an initiative that is spearheaded by four young members of the royal family. ‘Heads Together’ is a national coalition of charities that is supported by HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

    Each year, Bishop Christopher organises a Lent Appeal to help local and national good causes. And each year, generous worshippers from our diocese donate money and hold fundraising events to support those charities. More than £30,000 has been raised each year recently.

    The bishop hopes that by making mental health the focus of this year’s appeal, it will also prompt our church communities to be more accessible and welcoming to those facing mental health problems.

    He said: “Mental health is a live topic in our society. We rightly talk about it more and more, especially among children and young people. This is vitally important not just in preventing the waste of lives and talents, but also in seeking to make space for people to speak with one another about their experiences – and be heard.

    “As Christians this is a part of our common life that we should seek to understand more deeply, as our mental health is one important aspect of our human createdness.

    “One of the most notable aspects of the way Scripture talks about being human is in its being integrated. Whereas some ancient philosophers saw the physical and spiritual as separate, the Bible understands all aspects of human life as being part of one interconnected whole.

    “In Deuteronomy, the human response to God should be to love with all our heart, soul, and strength, and Jesus puts this in terms of heart, soul, mind, and strength. In reality the meaning stays the same, because both are ways of describing the whole person. It is not that we can neatly split up our lives into these different parts, but rather that the love of God must flow from our whole being in all its interconnected complexity.

    “The focus of our Lent Appeal is in supporting charities that promote mental health and wellbeing, and this focus will go beyond Lent and beyond our donations. I hope we can think more about how our church communities can become more welcoming, affirming and accepting places where we can be open with one another. Following the vulnerability of our Saviour, I hope that wherever we find ourselves and whatever difficulties we face, we may be communities of compassionate mutual love.”

    Heads Together

    The principal recipient of this year’s Lent Appeal, Heads Together, combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services. It is a national coalition of eight charities that includes Contact, working particularly with the military community, and Mind, with experience in this field for over 70 years.

    HRH Prince William said: “The three of us (The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry) had seen that the issue sat at the heart of so many of the causes we cared about – whether that was the health of children and families; the care provided to our veterans; work to combat homelessness; or the epidemic of suicide.

    “With Heads Together, we worked with our partners to spread a simple message: just starting a conversation on mental health could make all the difference. When you can talk about something, you have less reason to fear it. And when you can talk about something, you are much more likely to ask for help.”

    The 2019 Lent Appeal will also support local charities working in our area among people, especially children and young people, facing mental health challenges. As in previous years we welcome suggestions of such small, or larger, local charitable groups.

    Gift aid envelopes and leaflets will be distributed to the Area Deans, and then to your parish in time for the start of Lent on Wednesday 6th March.

    Please give generously – your donation will make a real difference to the work of Heads Together, and to local charities and local groups working to support adults and especially children and young people with mental health difficulties.

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