All Saints Blackwell - Mental Health
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Mental Health

Light in the Darkness - By Rachael Phillips

Lockdown has had a big impact on the mental health of people of all ages and all walks of life. Isolation, financial pressures, strained relationships, being cut off from normal activities and having to adapt to new ways of living have really taken their toll. This 6-week video project documents these stories. Through a series of interviews with people from our community, we explore various mental ill health conditions, how to maintain good mental health, what recovery looks like and what part our faith plays. 

Here are just some of the things the series covers:Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Demetia. We hear perspectives from a mother of two teenagers, a couple who have shielded for over 16 months and counting, a widow living alone, a mental health chaplain, a retired priest, an army veteran, and our very own Revd Jen who gives us a scientific insight into brain function and how we can live longer, better quality lives. We cover prayer activities, mindfulness and meditation, the benefits of the outdoors, whether or not stigma is still a problem, how suffering and our faith interact and at the end of each episode there are details showing where you can get help. 

Episodes include suggestions for new ways to try praying, art and music to meditate on and the candid, open and detailed accounts from lots of people sharing their stories.  The overarching message is that whilst there are many people in our community suffering, they are not alone and help is at hand. God bless. 

Here is an introduction to the series:

Light in the Darkness Episode 1:

An informative, relaxed and hopeful look at mental health and lockdown. In episode 1 we hear from members of the local Christian community and how they've been coping in their different circumstances, and we'll be led in a great breathing technique to calm anxious minds. Production by Ordinand Rachael Phillips serving at All Saints and Salutation Church Blackwell, St Edwin's High Coniscliffe and St Mary's Piercebridge. Training for Ordained Ministry with Durham Diocese at Cranmer Hall, Durham University. This video contains music performed by Andy Young, and a Darlington-wide collaboration of the Blessing using la Benedicion melody. Artwork from Nicholas Mynheer, Briton Riviere and Michael Obrien.

Light in the Darkness Episode 2:

Raising awareness of mental ill health in lockdown and reducing stigma by listening to the stories from within our community. First up in this episode is Sarah who shares her faith struggles and where she finds hope. I interview Colin, a mental health chaplain who describes mindfulness as a treatment for mental illness, and how to pray when you don't have the words. Next we explore the art of gratitude through a prayer experiment, and finally Lee and Dorothy remind us how the psalms often describe our own suffering and anguish. Accompanying art this week is from Stanley Spencer, June Lizotte, Melanie Pyke, Michael O'Brien, Siegeer Koder, Laur Iduc and Dinah Roe Kendall. Music performed by Andy Young, and Dorothy and Lee Puchala Remember, you are not alone, you are seen, you are loved and there is help out there.

Light in the Darkness Episode 3:

Bipolar Disorder and depression are just two big topics we cover this episode in our video project aiming to raise awareness and reduce stigma of mental ill health within our community. First up we hear a poignant message of hope from Sarah. Don't suffer alone. Speak out. Get help. You are valued and cherished. Details of agencies who can help are at the very end of the video. Art: J Vincent Scarpace, Graham Dean, Briton Riviere, Ishrath Humairah, Daniel Bonnell, Jyoti Art Ashram, Francis Newton Souza, Wayne Pascall, Stanley Spencer, Lewis Bowman, Otto Dix, Julie Lonneman, Dinah Roe Kendall, Laura James, Laur Iduc Music: Andy Young Participants: Sarah McTimoney, Les Smith, Revd Raymond Cuthbertson, Clare Curran.

Light in the Darkness Episode 4:

HOW HAS LOCKDOWN AFFECTED CHILDREN? This episode covers a range of topics including the effects of lockdown on children's mental wellbeing, how getting outside can promote good mental health, an introduction to prayer walking, and two insightful interviews with people suffering from borderline personality disorder and depression. Both offer humbling and open accounts of their experiences and their hopes in Jesus and help us to see the damaging effects of stigma. Artwork: Belle Massey, Graham Dene Participants: Sarah McTimoney, Michael and Angela Green, Caroline Howarth, Nick Murray, Sarah Jay Music: Andy Young

Light in the Darkness Episode 5:

Week five of the Light in the Darkness video project to raise awareness and reduce stigma of mental illness. This episode: Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. An in depth interview with an army veteran about PTSD, war and faith. Is recovery possible? Why does talking about the illness help and what unhelpful things do people say? Plus a prayer experiment involving our bodies.

Light in the Darkness Episode 6:  Light in the Darkness Ep.6 - YouTube

The final instalment in the series, this episode is an interview with scientist and theologian Revd Jen Croft. She brings us the psychologist's perspective on mental health in lockdown and practical steps we can take to have longer and better quality lives.




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