Talking about mental health and wellbeing

When it comes to wellness, there are many challenges out there in our communities and within our congregations. Young people have escalating mental health needs, for a complex variety of reasons; mental health services have been severely cut because of austerity – particularly for those in crisis. At the same time, our gospel vision promises us life in all its fullness, and there are deep resources within our Christian tradition to enable us to make a positive and healing contribution to the world around us.

The diocesan Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Group has a network of people with skills and ‘expertise by experience’ in mental health issues. We are lay and ordained, and bring a variety of perspectives to bear on the theme of wellbeing and mental health. Please get in touch if you would like to have a conversation, or hold an awareness-raising or training event in your parish or deanery. The group is co-ordinated by Alison Webster.

Alison Webster, Deputy Director of Mission (Social Justice)
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,


PDF of prayer as a postcard that may be printed copyright free