Rector’s Weekly Letter – 28th May 2020

Dear friends,

How are you doing? Have you noticed how this common greeting has become more meaningful in recent weeks? In these days of lockdown, we really want to know how our friends, family and neighbours are — and not just physically. We want to know how they are coping. We are concerned about their wellbeing in a new way. My hope is that this concern will be one of the things that we carry with us into the future.

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. Some of you may have seen contributions from Prince William and a host of sports, music and TV stars. You may think that only a few people are affected but the truth is that in Scotland as many as one in four people will experience mental health problems in any year. This means that all of us know someone who has personal experience of mental health problems although we might not be aware of it.

Most of us know very little about mental health. For many centuries, mental illness and distress has been a taboo subject in our society due to the stigma that surrounds it, often based on myths and false assumptions. Two thirds of employers in Scotland, when asked, said that they did not feel comfortable employing a person with mental health issues. Yet, it is a fact that most people recover from mental health problems and go on to live fulfilling lives. Those with enduring mental illness do not lose their personality or intelligence, and many are able to work and enjoy positive relationships and activities.

The Mental Health Foundation changed the theme of this year’s campaign to kindness in the light of the pandemic which has caused many people to struggle emotionally and has provided additional challenges to those with existing problems. Each one of us can help people experiencing mental health problems and make a real difference to their recovery. All we need to do is to be ready to listen and respond with kindness.

Remember that I am always at the end of my mobile phone. If you wish to be in touch with another member of the congregation but don’t have their phone number or email address, please contact me and I can arrange it with their permission.

With love,