Our understanding of Mental Health has grown and we now recognise that, just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health as Sharon Daniels, RSY-Netzer’s Well-being and Inclusion Manager explains.
At our June AGM, Reform Judaism and our communities committed to continuing to work to be safe, inclusive spaces for everyone and to promoting the NHS ‘Five Ways to Well-being’. These are opportunities which have a positive impact on our well-being and are widely available through our communities.
Connect: connecting with people in a myriad of ways – our shared values, practices and heritage, as well as our diversity, are rich sources of social connectivity. From brief conversations at kiddush to working together on community projects, meaningful interactions can improve our well-being.
Be active: exercise has a positive impact on mental health and synagogues offer walking groups, yoga , zumba, Israeli dancing, cycling and much more.
Give: volunteers are the life-blood of our communities, but are we aware that volunteering is also good for mental health? By giving to others, in however small a way, we feel more valued and better about ourselves. Offering a lift or a meal, supporting refugees or the homeless, joining our Communities that Care initiative – synagogues provide the opportunities to give to others and enrich ourselves.
Take notice: how often in our busy lives so we stop and take in the world around us or notice our internal worlds? Prayer, mindfulness groups, taking time out of our busy schedules on Shabbat, projects in nature are all communal spaces for us to ‘take notice’.
Learn: book clubs, choirs, Talmud, leadership, drama, the arts, music, parasha, sermons, peer-led sessions or amazing educators – there are endless learning opportunities available in communities.
So it is all there for the taking. Our challenge is to make these opportunities available to all – including those for whom mental health can be a challenge. How can we enable people with diverse needs ad experiences to participate, so their mental health can be positively impacted by their community?
If you would like to share your experiences, explore how your community can be a community of well-being or find out more about mental health in our communities please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.