The Communities that Care Initiative hosted a panel on ‘Working Together for Mental Health’ which looked at the roles of the statutory and voluntary sector, as well as what communities can do in this important area. We were pleased to welcome 30 participants representing 15 Reform Communities from the north and the south.
Rabbi Howard Cooper, a psychotherapist, challenged our perceptions of what is ‘normal’, how we label people and what mental health is. Even the use of the term ‘inclusion’, so often considered a core value, defines some people as ‘other’ and outside the norm. Dr Stuart Linke, an NHS Clinical Psychologist and member of FRS, explained the structure of mental health services and stressed the importance of communities having local service knowledge to be able to effectively signpost. Laurie Rackind, Chief Executive of JAMI, outlined the social care provision offered and the importance of communities working hand-in-hand with JAMI to support people during times of crisis and in recovery.
There was agreement that talking about mental health and wellbeing is crucial to reduce stigma and ensure people are able to ask for support when needed, as well as recognising when others might need help. The importance of listening and being there for people should never be underestimated. We also heard a lot of communities not entirely sure about signposting members who contact them- the Hub of Hope is an excellent national resource for mental health services. Many people shared personal experiences, underlining that this is a topic which affects us all. People left perhaps with more questions than answers, but also with thoughts of next steps for their communities.
Reform Judaism is happy to support communities both practically and financially in initiatives to promote mental health and wellbeing. We are able to fund CBT Cafes – Cake Before Therapy! – and Mental Health First Aid Training for adults or youth. We are happy to discuss your ideas, and are expanding our team to enable us to develop Support Groups and more educational opportunities. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
MHFA – https://mhfaengland.org/
Hub of hope https://hubofhope.co.uk/