Covid-19

The Catholic Church and Mental Health post-Covid-19

What can the Catholic Church do to address mental health issues during the easing of the lockdown and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic?

In line with the objectives of the Catholic Mental Health Project, our post-Covid-19 work on healthcare and mental health will aim to:

  • Offer support and resources to local Catholic communities as they respond to those facing mental health challenges
  • Identify and highlight good practice in pastoral care for those with mental health needs, their families and carers
  • Develop a network of those within the Catholic community in England and Wales with a special interest in locally based mental health support

Who will need help?

For example:

  • Priests, deacons and religious
  • Chaplains
  • Diocesan staff
  • Lay Catholics
  • Parish communities
  • Teachers and pupils in schools
  • People with disabilities
  • People who have been in the “vulnerable” category during the pandemic
  • The elderly
  • People who live alone
  • Carers

Given the wide range of needs, we will focus on offering recommendations, ideas and signposting for possible ways to address mental health needs, rather than giving a prescriptive set of instructions. We will focus specifically on suggestions which can be taken up at local diocesan, parish, and community levels, as well as by individuals.

N.B. The pastoral care of priests, deacons, religious and chaplains is a specialised field and will need to be given separate attention, although the recommendations given here may also be applicable.

 

Recommendations

There are five recommendations for how the Church can contribute positively to addressing mental heath in a post-Covid-19 world.

  1. Training
  2. Resources
  3. Helplines and support
  4. Spiritual health and wellbeing
  5. Action

The tables below give more detail about how these recommendations may be implemented at different levels.

  • Table 1: Diocesan staff, lay Catholics and parish communities
  • Table 2: Schools – staff and pupils
  • Table 3: Marginalised and vulnerable people and carers

You can also visit our Covid-19 resource pages:

 

Table 1: Diocesan staff, lay Catholics and parish communities

  Diocesan staff Lay Catholics and parish communities
Training – Regular (e.g. annual) mental health first aid training opportunities, including for parish priests

– Appointment of one or more named and trained mental health first aiders

Resources – Information about mental health conditions and needs
Helplines and support – Information about professional support

– Information about local support services

Spiritual wellbeing – Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Retreat opportunities

– A space for private prayer

– Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Retreat opportunities

– A space for private prayer

– Parish courses (e.g. lectio divina, prayer groups)

Action – Implementing training

– Lunchtime events

– Social events

– Information about best practice parish action initiatives

– Implementing training

– Parish social events

– Parish support groups

 

Table 2: Schools – staff and pupils

  Schools – staff Schools – pupils
Training – Regular (e.g. annual) mental health first aid training opportunities

– Appointment of one or more named and trained mental health first aiders

– Mental health first aid training in secondary schools/for older pupils

Resources – Information about mental health conditions and needs
Helplines and support – Information about professional support

– Information about local support services

Spiritual wellbeing – Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Retreat opportunities

– A space for private prayer

 

– Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Retreat opportunities

– A space for private prayer

– Courses focused on spirituality (e.g. lectio divina, prayer groups)

Action – Implementing training

– Lunchtime events

– Social events

– Implementing training

– Extra-curricular events or activities

 

Table 3: Marginalised and vulnerable people and carers

  Marginalised and vulnerable people (e.g. the elderly, disabled, people who live alone, Covid-19 vulnerable category) Carers
Training – Mental health first aid training opportunities
Resources – Information about mental health conditions and needs in appropriate formats – e.g. print where there is no access to the internet
Helplines and support – Information about professional support

– Information about local support services

Spiritual wellbeing – Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Retreat opportunities

– Opportunities for a priest to visit

– Provision of resources for spiritual wellbeing and mental health

– Training opportunities in a spiritual context

– Retreat opportunities

Action – Social events

– Social visits from parishioners, priests and others

– Implementing training