Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day and we would normally gather together to remember with compassion all those who live with mental health problems. Unfortunately this year, we have not been able to come together but instead we are sharing the service below for our community to use at home.

To find out more about local mental health support in Herefordshire via the WISH website, click here.

To find out more about the work of the Mental Health Foundation click here. 

A Service for World Mental Health Day 

Holy and loving God, help us to lift mental illness out of the shadows and into the light, to talk openly about things that are often whispered and to confront the stigma that keeps people from dealing honestly with matters that are more common than we might care to acknowledge. Give us determination and persistence as we strive to create safe spaces for all people, including those with mental health challenges, fleeting or lasting. And give us courage and wisdom to keep the conversation alive realising that “they” are “us”, and to make that it meaningful and helpful. We ask this is the name of the One who loves us all, no matter who we are or where we are on life’s journey. Amen.

A reading from St. Mark 14: 32-36

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ’I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’


These last few months have been difficult times for us all and  especially for those who suffer with mental health issues. Living in times of uncertainty is very scary. We like to plan, to know what is going to happen. The Covid 19 pandemic took the familiar out of our lives, suddenly we were isolated from family and friends. The regulations that came from the government were at times totally confusing. And there was the real fear that we might catch the virus and may even die. The news each day was frightening. Everything has changed and no one knows when life will get back to what we knew as normal life. And now there is the second spike of illness. So, the fear which began to subside has come back again and this time we have more of idea of what it means.  Add to that the anxiety of money worries or the fear of losing a job, life can seem very bleak just now. Suffering from a mental health issue could make you feel very alone and life can seem very dark even before the rise of Covid 19 but for many the darkness is even darker now.

It is  very tempting to think that Jesus lived his life without worrying about anything. To think that he lived an easy life, going about the country with confidence and that he approached his death with calmness and self-assurance.  In the story of the Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, however, we begin to realise that actually he was very scared; that he would have preferred to have been anywhere else other than where he was, so that he could have  avoided what was about to happen to him. Through the words of St. Mark, we read of overwhelming anguish, distress and grief.  Jesus was alone and living through the darkness of despair.

Jesus is a wonderful example of what it means to be brave. To keep on going when everything is dark and you feel alone is an act of bravery. It is often thought that to be brave is to have no fear but actually that is foolhardiness. To be brave is to know what is frightening and face it head on and keep on going through the darkness out into the light. That is true bravery.

Prayer written by Alison Webster

God of Compassion, you meant us to be both fragile and ordinary. Silence the voices that say we are not good enough, haven’t achieved enough, haven’t enough to show for our lives. That we are not enough. Help us to know that we are treasure, we are prized, we are cherished, we are loved. Infinitely. By you. So be with us in our confusion of feelings: when our hearts are downward freefall, be with us; when our minds race with anxiety, be with us; when our throats close with fear, be with us; when sleep will not come, be with us; when waking hurts, be with us.



May the grace that says “you are not alone” encourage you. May the mercy that says “you are enough” comfort you. May the love that says “you are loved” embrace you this day and every day; And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and those whom you love and those whom you pray for this day and always.