Inviting the black dog into the room

In recent years there has been an explosion in ministry specifically to men. Breakfasts, outings and weekends away for men are now commonplace on the menu of many churches. Alongside this phenomenon statistics show a growing mental health crisis amongst men in this region. Northern Ireland has repeatedly had the highest suicide rate in the UK and men make up over 75% of this statistic. In this age of uncertainty with a rise in global terrorism, economic instability and insatiable demands of the workplace, many men are under increased and sustained pressure, resulting in isolation, addiction and depression. The shadow of the Troubles also looms large with countless men in our communities living with the crippling symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Statutory mental health services are failing to supply the demand for their services. In November 2016 it was reported that not one of Northern Ireland's five health trusts met the waiting time targets for people experiencing severe mental health difficulties.
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The gift of time

In Michael Bond's reflection on the passing of the years read by Sir David Attenborough at the Queen's 90th birthday service he stated -  “My father’s motto was - the most precious gift you can bestow on a child is your time.” A recent survey by mental health charity 'Mind' of primary care workers found that work is currently the most stressful area of their lives. Research by the professional body for human resources has revealed that the the number of people saying that they have experienced mental health problems while in employment has climbed from a quarter to a third over the last five years. Continue reading

Plumbing the well of unhappiness

In western societies we have pushed back the tide of physical causes of harm to the extent that most achieve the milestone of 80 years of age before dying, with a majority enjoying good health up until their final years. However, the conditions that have been kind to our bodies has not had provided the same balm to our minds, especially those of our children. Continue reading