To mark the feast of St Dymphna, the patron saint of mental illness, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Richard Moth, has emphasised the need for the Church to continue to reach out to those who struggle with their mental health.
‘15th May is the feast day of St Dymphna, the patron saint of mental illness,’ he wrote. ‘On this day and in the week that follows I am asking you to keep those who suffer with mental illness, and their families, in your prayers. On this day we should also consider the practical help we can offer, and other ways in which we might show those who suffer that they are not alone and that they are wrapped in the love of Christ.
‘The Catholic Church is active in addressing mental health problems in society through the work of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales Mental Health Project and the ‘Welcome Me As I Am’ project. On 15th May I am also supporting the work of the St Dymphna’s Day Campaign, which seeks to shine a light on the work that the Catholic Church does to help those who suffer from mental illness and to challenge the stigma that often surrounds mental health problems.
‘One in four people in the UK suffer from mental health problems each year. The stresses and strains of modern life, age, trauma, and genetics – mental illness has its roots everywhere and nowhere. Whatever the reason, those who suffer with mental illness are no less part of the flock. Through the loving mercy of Our Lord we should welcome everyone into our parishes and make our churches places of comfort and safety for those who may not find these qualities in their own minds.
‘On St Dymphna’s Day we should remind others and ourselves of something that is often forgotten in moments of despair: the love God has for every one of us.’