Most of us will experience stress, anxiety or depression at some point in our lives. For many this will lead to some kind of medical treatment. For some, their mental health issues will be severe, debilitating, and/or long-term. Despite being common, mental health problems come with social stigma attached. Treatment for mental ill-health is under-funded, and support in the community much less good than it should be.

Churches can play a hugely important role in helping to overcome stigma, supporting and standing alongside those with mental health needs, and ensuring that all are included in the life of the church – enabled to contribute insight and wisdom to the Christian community, as well as to receive the support and care that they need.

Within the Diocese, the Health and Social Care group of the Oxford Diocesan Board of Mission can be a resource to clergy and other parish staff who may come across people with mental health needs. The group tries to keep up to date with developments in the field, and runs occasional training and study events. For further details, please do get in touch.

Alison Webster, Social Responsibility Adviser
01865 208213

Understanding Mental Health: A Guide for Parishes

Mental health needs are all around us.  In parish life we come across people with a wide range of mental health problems, from anxiety or depression to schizophrenia or dementia.

It is not always easy to know how best to respond and sometimes we feel that having a better understanding of mental health and of local resources might help.

Understanding Mental Health: A Guide for Parishes is intended to address that need by offering a brief introduction to aspects of mental health, including how we can respond to mental health issues, and by signposting links to national and local charities and agencies.

Loneliness: Accident or Injustice? A publication by Jo Ind exploring Christian responses to loneliness in the Thames Valley

Loneliness is arguably the most prevalent social concern of our time. A 2014 survey of church leaders showed that loneliness and social isolation was the most common concern within their community. What’s more, loneliness seems to be getting worse.

Loneliness: Accident or Injustice? recognises the ordinary but radical ways in which churches in the Diocese of Oxford help combat loneliness. It celebrates them and it offers theological and practical resources to encourage and empower them in the small acts of kindness which can make the difference between belonging and despair.

A Prayer for World Mental Health Day

By Alison Webster


God of compassion,

You meant us to be both fragile and ordinary.

Silence the voices that say we are not good enough,

Haven’t achieved enough,

Haven’t enough to show for our lives,

That we are not enough.

Help us to know that we are treasure,

We are prized,

We are cherished,

We are loved.


By you.

So be with us in our corrugations of feeling:

When our hearts are in downward freefall, be with us

When our minds race with anxiety, be with us

When our throats close in fear, be with us

When sleep will not come, be with us

When waking hurts, be with us.

In the name of Jesus,

Who knew trauma, abuse, despair and abandonment

And has nothing but love for us,