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Mental Health and Wellbeing Advocates

Mental Health and Wellbeing is an increasingly important issue in the Church and in society in general. The impact of the pandemic, the growing pace and stress of life and the increasing profile being given to Mental Health is all contributing to this.

We are working to recruit 25 volunteers to be Mental Health Advocates in their Churches. Could this be you?

The Background

Together in Sussex, working together with the Diocese of Chichester and the Church Urban Fund, has responded to the need to improve mental health awareness in our communities by developing this role.

We believe all churches want to be welcoming places for anyone who is or has experienced mental health or wellbeing challenges. This means all church members need to understand this complex subject, learn ways to be inclusive and know what to do when someone needs help.

We will therefore be recruiting volunteers to be an advocate in their local congregation. We will train them in Mental Health awareness and then give them regular tools and support – for their own wellbeing and in order to gain skills in supporting others. A Mental Health Advocate isn’t expected to address every mental health issues themselves. Instead with a listening ear, a supportive attitude and with the knowledge to signpost to further support and help – they can be someone able to respond.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Advocate Role

We’d train and support you and help you to become a champion of mental health issues and a sign-poster to mental health care for your congregation.

We are looking for people who are:

  • Caring and kind
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Supported by their Church Leadership and able to provide referees.

We are looking for people who show:

  • An interest in mental health and may have lived experience of a mental health challenge themselves.
  • Is willing and able to work with church teams/leadership to identify ways of improving mental health awareness in their church community
  • Skills to work with others.

We are looking for people who can:

  • Signpost someone to further support and able to know her/his own limits.
  • Be willing to share information with the wider church and be a supportive voice in their congregation.
  • Be aware of their own personal safety and that of others when experiencing mental health challenges. They should know who to turn to for advice regarding safeguarding and vulnerable adults.
  • Have an understanding of the issues of confidentiality and apply them.
  • Attend training events
  • Attend get together’s with other Advocates
  • Be willing to be part of an email network to keep in touch.
  • Be willing to report at least annually to their PCC.
  • Provide support, information and encouragement in their Church Community
  • Submit to a DBS Check and commit to the Church of England Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment Practices.

The role of the Advocate doesn’t involve individual pastoral care, counselling or prayer ministry.

Applying to be a Mental Health and Wellbeing Advocate

Anyone interested in applying for the role of Mental Health Advocate should complete the Application Form and send it to: info@togetherinsussex.org.uk