Australian bishops put mental health first as lockdowns magnify unseen battle faced by millions

by Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader  |  08/04/2020  |  ACMHM News

With Australia still gripped by pandemic, “understanding and support” for mental health has been identified as a nationwide priority in the 2020 Australian Catholic Bishops Conference social justice statement.

COVID-19 is not only causing physical, social and economic strains, it is also heaping pressure on the mental health of many people in ways that are hard to see.

“People experiencing mental ill-health are not some ‘other’ people, they are ‘us’,” ACBC president and Brisbane Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, said in the forward to this year’s social justice statement released in the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday on August 30.

“People in our families, faith communities, workplaces and society are suffering mental ill-health – and they can be of any age or socioeconomic background. Whoever and whatever they are, they need our understanding and support.

“It is surely time for us to make mental health a real priority, so that all people may know the fullness of life which Jesus offers (John 10:10).”

The 2020 Social Justice Statement ‘To Live Life to the Full: Mental Health in Australia Today’ sets out to explain mental health in the clearest terms, pointing out that each of us needs the bonds of family, friends and the broader community “to celebrate the joys and hopes of life” and are important “in times of anxiety and despair”.

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