When we gather as a community for Shabbat on any given week, approximately 1 in 6 people will have experienced a common mental health problem that week. This Shabbat has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Shabbat by Jami, the mental health service for the Jewish community. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people dealing with mental ill-health and to build positive practices to improve mental health in all who come through our doors. This Shabbat represents an excellent opportunity to reflect on what we all do to promote positive mental health in our lives and the lives of those we care about, and to extend support to those who need it. Each of us can make a difference. One way you may want to mark Mental Health Awareness Shabbat is by including a special prayer for mental health in your Shabbat services – the following new prayer for mental health in our community has been composed specially for this purpose and we hope it can help you to reflect on this special Shabbat.
A prayer for mental health
Harachaman, may the All-Merciful one grant our community and all other communities the strength and courage to extend help to all in need of it. May this community be a sukkat shalom – a shelter of peace and a place of refuge for those who need support and those whose mental health needs the love we can provide. May we help all those amongst us who experience a time of mental ill-health find understanding and strength within themselves, so they may once again lie down in peace and rise again to enjoy life. And through our work in building a holy community, may we give ourselves and all around us the endurance we need to face every day of life in all of its challenges and its wonders.
As the Torah states: Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness, I fear no harm, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)
B’yado afkid ruchi, b’et ishan ve’aira
V’im ruchi geviati, adonai li v’lo ira
Into your hands we put our spirit and with our spirit our body also
When we wake and when we sleep, the Eternal is with us, we shall not fear.