Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton has written a pastoral letter to West Australian Catholics urging parishes to “prayerfully consider the issues around mental health that our brothers and sisters experience in our midst”. Source: eRecord.
Statistics from 2017 show that close to one in five Australians have experienced symptoms of a mental health issue.
“Despite the progress made over the past decade, the stigma associated with mental illness still exists in our community,” Bishop Sproxton wrote in his Pastoral Letter.
“People living with a mental illness are often isolated, have difficulty accessing employment, and have disrupted family, social and peer networks as highlighted in the recently launched Australian Catholic Bishops' Social Justice Statement for 2018-19, 'Place to call Home’.”
Bishop Sproxton said that improving our communication around mental ill-health and suicide is vital, as stigmatising language can prevent people from seeking help.
“Mental health and wellbeing crosses language and cultural divides,” Bishop Sproxton said. “By supporting individuals and families holistically and in partnership, we build stronger communities that flourish as a whole.”
The best way people can spread the word about positive mental wellbeing and seeking support needed, Bishop Sproxton explained, is by attending or holding a local event or awareness activity in parishes, workplaces or schools during Mental Health Week.
“I ask that your parish community take the opportunity on the weekend of 6 to 7 October to prayerfully consider the issues around mental health that our brothers and sisters experience in our midst.”