The service, led by the Revd Professor Gina Radford, a Vicar in Devon and a former Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, will include a series of prayers for all those whose mental health has been affected, their relatives, friends and carers.
She will say in her sermon that Mental Health Awareness Week has had a ‘particular significance’ this year as more people struggle with mental health and well-being.
“For some people of faith this is particularly challenging,” she will continue. “Surely, we might ask, my faith should get me through? But we need to face the reality that we are human – we are body, mind and spirit. We are all susceptible to mental ill-health, just as we are to physical ill-health.”
Revd Professor Chris Cook, Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Durham University and a former Professor of Psychiatry, will say prayers for all those whose mental health has suffered because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Other contributors to the service include Jenny Flannagan, from the charity Youthscape and Revd Peterson Feital, Missioner to the Creative Industries in the Diocese of London and the founder and Chief Executive of The Haven + London.
Ms Flannagan, who works to support 14-19 year olds struggling with self-harm, will talk about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people’s mental health.
“Lots of young people are finding their anxiety is increasing, not knowing what is going to happen in the future. Lots of them are stuck in really difficult family situations, some of them are dealing with grief,” she will say.
“I pray for all the young people that I work with that we will have the right words to help them to find the next step forward, to seed hope in their imaginations that there is a way forward, that there are other ways that they can manage some of these difficulties and to know that they are not alone.”
The service will be interpreted into British Sign Language throughout and subtitles are also available. The hymns, some of which have been recorded remotely this week, are from the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields, directed by Andrew Earis. All were recorded separately in accordance with the rules on physical distancing. Tim Hughes kindly gave permission for the UK Blessing to be used, featuring contributions from more than 65 churches and movements across the country.
Notes to editors
- Explore the Church of England website to read the mental health reflections and explore further support available. Posts relating to the Church’s mental health reflections have been seen nearly one million times.
- Thousands of people around the world watch the Church’s weekly services either live or on playback throughout the week. Explore the Church’s full range of online resources.
- According to surveys run after recent online services, up to one in five people watching go to church monthly or less, which shows they are being watched by people exploring faith at this time. One third of people watching Archbishop Justin Welby’s Easter Day service on YouTube were under the age of 34.
- A survey was displayed on Facebook and YouTube at the end of a recent service which indicated around 80% of people found the service was very or extremely helpful in bringing them closer to God or supporting their faith.
- The Church’s digital output has been seen millions of times since lockdown began.
- The UK Blessing video has received more than 2.7 million views so far.