Instead of the more usual trip to LEAF for the Space to Grow session this Thursday I went to an event organised by the NHS called “Spirituality and Mental Health” – it was an interesting morning with both some honest and heart touching real life stories from service users of Sheffields mental health services about the role spirituality played in their path of recovery – but also challenges to both NHS and faith communities about how to provide support that better met the mental health needs of people.
It began with a discussion of what we might mean by “mental health” and shared with us this definition by the World Health Organisation: “Mental Health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Based on this definition Sheffield Health and Social care (SHSC) Trust have made a commitment to regard spirituality as a key element in the holistic approach to recovery.
This holistic approach is exactly what lies behind the Quiet Garden idea at Yew Lane, whether you come to us for worship, a quiet day retreat, a gardening day, or for soup on a Thursday in the “Rest Room” we try to create a space that provides that caring and compassionate space that we all need to recover from the stresses and strains of life.
And the final quote from the day: “Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” Henri Nouwen. Here at the Cross at Yew Lane we hope and pray that we will always have that “inner disposition to go with others”.