27 May 2016
Last Shabbat saw a series of special events and services at South London Liberal Synagogue (SLLS) to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday used special liturgy compiled by Rabbi Janet Darley, minister at SLLS, on the theme of mental health.
On Saturday, there was a coffee morning where members chatted about how the community could and had supported them.
A local Jewish mental health volunteer, Mark Shueler, attended to tell members about the training on offer to support friends and family, and outline local services available for those experiencing mental illness. In particular, this helped to raise awareness of the support available from Jami, the Jewish mental health charity.
The D’var Torah on Shabbat was replaced by one member speaking openly about their experience of mental illness and how the support from the rabbi and friends at SLLS had been a key part of their recovery.
Rabbi Janet Darley said: “We were pleased to have offered special programming for Mental Health Awareness week again this year. As a rabbi, I know how places of worship can offer a sense of belonging and help build relationships important for good mental health, as well as helping meet spiritual needs which can also add to wellbeing.”
Alice Alphandary, Chair of SLLS, added: “It’s so important that we create communities where people can bring all of themselves to synagogue and not feel judged for perceived stigma around mental illness. We need to nurture caring environments where people feel able to give an honest answer to the question ‘How are you feeling?’ and know that their rabbi and friends at synagogue will support them through difficult times.”
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