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LETTERS

Mental Health

I read with interest Thomas Baldwin’s excellent article apropos mental illness (Life and Work – March).

Cartoon: Bill McArthur

I found his interview with the Rev Scott McCrum both comforting and enlightening. Having personal experience of acute anxiety, I have witnessed first-hand the profound effects mental health problems can have upon an individual’s life, and how comforting it is to learn of someone such as the Rev McCrum who has come through similar experiences in relation to mental health.

I was most interested to learn of the support group he has set up for suffers of depression and anxiety in his own church. This is indeed a very good idea and will undoubtedly be of great benefit to those who attend. Mental health is not always an issue one finds easy to discuss or even disclose to others and sufferers can often feel isolated. However, the provision of a local group such as the Rev McCrum’s, where people can come together in an informal setting, means that sufferers of mental health are not alone, and are afforded the opportunity to relate to each other’s personal experiences and support each other going forward, whether this be simply as a regular branch of support, or in tandem with more formal professional mental health services support. Furthermore, sufferers may find it easier to open up to individuals who can testify first-hand experience of similar problems and treat the success of other members as a source of inspiration for their own progression. Provision of such groups, as the Rev McCrum’s group has testified, may also encourage engagement from other people suffering from mental illness within the wider community, in addition to anyone in the church community.

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About Life and Work

The month of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will be almost upon us as this issue reaches our readers. Reports will be debated and pronouncements made on a wide range of issues. One thing will be evident: the wind of change will begin to blow over the shape of the Church. After a series of roadshows over the length and breadth of the land from London to Lerwick the feedback on the future of the Church is being carefully analysed and considered.
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