Saturday, October 10th is World Mental Health Day. It was started in 1992 by the World Health Organisation and it has been observed on the 10th of October every year since. Each year a theme is chosen with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world, and to see what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

The theme for 2015 is dignity. ‘Dignity’ – ‘the quality of being worthy of honour’. How apt. Mental ill-health is shattering. Utterly vulnerable, self-esteem on the floor, small acts of kindness and unkindness alike are amplified.

In her book ‘Seven Sacred Pauses’ Benedictine nun Macrina Wiederkehr writes of how each evening a busy therapist visualises her clients for the following day and of how she ends her personal Vespers by laying her hands on her patients’ charts.What a gift it is to be cared for by someone for whom you are a person worthy of honour – a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a friend. A person with shattered dreams, fears, hurts, and a desperate yearning to be well. Not just a name on a computer screen who appears at six monthly intervals, for a ten minute slot and then,

‘file’, ‘click’,
‘save as’, ‘click’,
‘exit’, ‘click’.

Each year at this time I remember all those who have stood between me and despair – a professional, a husband, dear friends and a Cistercian Community at Glencairn, Co. Waterford – who together and in different ways carried me, supported me and enabled me to come home, to myself and to where I belong.

by Barbara Whelan

Barbara will present four additional reflections on ‘A Living Word’ on Radio 1, Monday – Friday at 6.40am  from 28th September – 2th October to tie in with Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day 2015

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