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A pastoral response to mental illness and a promotion of wellbeing

Mental Health Week is a national week celebrated each year in October kicking off with World Mental Health Day on October 10. This year’s Mental Health Week (10-18 October) theme is Strengthening Our Community – Live, Learn, Work, Play and we are continuing to aim at increasing mental wellbeing across Australia. This is of particular concern this year as we live through a pandemic. 

With this in mind, and acknolwedging the Bishops' 2020 Social Justice Statement on mental health and wellbeing, Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV), is pleased to facilitate a short program for Victorian parishioners together with Neal Murphy, an accredited Mental Health First Aid trainer.

In his 'day job', Neal is Director of Mission Integration Accord at St John Of God Accord – one of CSSV's member agencies. He is also a Mental Health First Aid trainer. In response to the Bishop’s 2020 Social Justice Statement on mental health, Neal has offered in a personal capacity to partner with CSSV to facilitate a heavily discounted Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training session in each diocese in Victoria.

Neal has provided training across the community in a number of settings, including parishes. He is particularly keen to see parishes equipped and have their capacity built up to respond to mental health needs as they arise. 

Course details

Due to COVID-19 this course has been adapted into a 100% online in a blended format.

  • Course Component 1 - A self-paced eLearning component (takes 5-7 hours to complete)
  • Course Component 2 - An Instructor-led component using video conferencing (2 sessions of 2.5 hours each including set up time).

The zoom format can take a maximum of 12 people.

Two people from each parish are encouraged to attend (meaning 6 parishes could participate per diocese – just so that there can be some continuation of the discussion and some support and solidarity for each other).

CSSV will host a follow up teleconference with all participants in each diocese about two months after the course is completed, with a representative from a CSSV member organisation in attendance to check in with the group who did the training and to facilitate discussion about the course and if it has been of use in the community or parish context and to give some further information about what services or supports are available in the region.

Click here to read further background information, as well as information about the presenter and Mental First Aid training.

Click here to submit your expression of interest to participate in the course on behalf of your parish.

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