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Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Catholics are not immune from mental illness'
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¬†Mental ill-health can happen to anyone ≠ 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life' ≠ is the message that the Catholic Church in England and Wales will be highlighting on its annual Day for Life ≠ Sunday 6 July 2008. The Day aims to raise awareness of the needs of those affected by mental ill-health, their friends, their family and their carers and the support that the parish community and professional services can bring. It is being backed by a senior Vatican official, Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, Former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. 'The person in your parish community who may be suffering today is the young mum with post-natal depression, the local businessman with stress, your own parish priest, the man who has recently lost his wife to cancer or the young person who has lost faith in life, as well as someone with an obvious, severe and enduring mental illness,' reads the Day for Life parish material, produced jointly by the Bishops' Conferences of Scotland, Ireland and England and Wales. "The Church's ministry to people with mental health difficulties today is to bring acceptance, love and compassion and where appropriate involvement in the life of the parish," says the Bishop for Day for Life, the Right Reverend Bernard Longley. "Fear of difference can lead to us rejecting and stigmatising the other; this year's Day offers us the opportunity to see what we can do as individuals and as a parish community to reach out to those in need." Professor Sheila Hollins, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a supporter of this year's Day says that people sometimes believe that if they were a better Catholic they wouldn't get sick: "People sometimes feel that they would not get depressed or anxious, or turn to alcohol or other substances to help them cope, if they were a better Catholic! "Sometimes people say that if you are a good Catholic, or if you have a religious belief, surely your relationship with God is going to be enough and that is going to get you through - surely it is a sign of weakness if you cannot pull yourself together and get over whatever the problem is that you are experiencing. "I think that is to misunderstand the nature of mental illness and some of the difficulties that people experience. "Telling somebody who is depressed to pull themselves together is no more effective for depression than it would be for somebody who had cancer or heart disease." Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of life at every stage and in every condition. Source: CCN
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