The Brighton Oratory was one of the first churches in Brighton & Hove to recognise the prevalence of mental health issues affecting people in our City and the need for Mental Health Awareness among faith communities to assist and help sufferers. Fr Jerome was one of the founding members of a Churches Together initiative to provide Mental Health Awareness training for churches and that project has since delivered awareness workshops and Mental Health First Aid training. We have two trained Mental Health First Aiders in our congregation.
The Brighton Oratory recognises that demonstrating acceptance and understanding, people with mental health difficulties may be encouraged to see the Church as a sanctuary and feel encouraged to seek help. The knowledge and reassurance of an eternal source of unconditional love and the experience of non-judgemental compassion and understanding from Christians can be an enormous comfort and source of hope. This is what we aim to provide as a faith community in our city, a safe and welcoming community and to help improve quality of life, believing people with mental health problems can offer a valuable contribution to the life and work of the church.
Homelessness and mental health often go hand in hand, and can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Having a mental health problem can create the circumstances which can cause a person to become homeless in the first place. Yet poor housing or homelessness can also increase the chances of developing a mental health problem, or exacerbate an existing condition. In turn, this can make it even harder for that person to recover – to develop good mental health, to secure stable housing, to find and maintain a job, to stay physically healthy and to maintain relationships.
The Brighton Oratory is involved in various activities to assist those suffering with mental health. In our partnership with the Salvation Army hosting The Hub homeless drop-in, our Mental Health First Aiders are present every week and available to assist those in distress or anxiety through mental health. Similarly through our membership of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action (of which Fr Jerome is a trustee) we support initiatives through the Mental Health Faith Partnership to promote awareness and deliver awareness training.