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Emmanuel Centre celebrates World Mental Health Day

The Emmanuel Centre has this year celebrated Mental Health Week with a day of Reflection and Mass on Saturday, 10 October at St Francis Xavier Church in Windsor St, East Perth. PHOTO: Supplied
The Emmanuel Centre has this year celebrated Mental Health Week with a day of Reflection and Mass on Saturday, 10 October at St Francis Xavier Church in Windsor St, East Perth.
World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy and is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. This year, the theme is, ‘Mental Health begins with me!’
Emmanuel Centre Co-Ordinator Barbara Harris said the event was host to a beautiful mixture of information, sharing, hospitality and spirituality, presented by experienced and humorous Mental Health Provider, Tasha Broomhall from Blooming Minds.
“The little church was filled with a large group of people for the two sessions before lunch, and finishing with Mass in the afternoon,” Ms Harris said.
Ms Harris explained that sessions for the day included information on how to have a conversation with someone you are concerned about, at work or in our personal life – which could be awkward.
“What we notice and the relationship we have with the one we are concerned about must be genuine and natural,” Ms Harris said.
Ms Broomhall then went on to talk about the different types of mental health concerns and then later about recovering from stressful situations and looking after yourself in times of change.
The talk demonstrated fives areas of our life which can be nourished to ensure quality mental health when change occurs in our lives.
Participants were given a little pad to jot down four areas that can be personally ‘nurtured’ each week.
Ms Harris said that some of the attendees had previously completed the Mental Health First Aid Courses held at the Emmanuel Centre, which included talks by Tasha Broomhall.
“All who attended found the day healing while also presenting a special opportunity to reflect on our lives and those we may know who struggle with mental health,” Ms Harris said.
In a statement released from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on 7 October,
Bishop Terry Brady, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life and the Australian Catholic Disability Council, said people living with mental health challenges are no less members of the Body of Christ than anyone else.
“People with mental illness and their families can often feel isolated from their faith community and thus isolated from God. Isolation is often caused by social stigma: the idea that mental illness is a question of character or a punishment from God,” Bishop Brady said.
“Obviously, there are particular challenges to enabling their full participation in the life of the community. Some of the challenges are visible and many others are not so clearly identified. Once we acknowledge these challenges, we can work together to ensure that all the gifts that flow through the Body of Christ can be shared by each member of that Body.
“It is also a reminder to look after our own well-being, especially our spiritual well-being. How are we nourishing our well-being through our spirituality?” Bishop Brady asked.
The statement from the ACBC went on to say that one in five Australians will experience mental illness this year.
“We all have a role to play in looking after our own mental health and well-being,” Bishop Brady said.
“The Catholic Church has been involved in mental health for a long time. Mental health is a vital part of the Church’s ministry,” he added.
“When our parishes gather, nearly everyone will know someone who has a mental illness of varying severity and length. Because of the stigma attached to it, few will come forward, but it is there. How can we support people living with the stigma of mental illness?
“Parishes may like to highlight the gifts and talents of people with mental health challenges, their families and support networks. It is also an important time to recognise the importance of spirituality and well-being,” Bishop Brady added.
For more information about the Emmanuel Centre, or to receive a copy of their newsletter, contact Barbara Harris on 08 9328 8113 or SMS 0401 016 399, or email