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• Caloundra tackles mental health

One of the group sessions in progress as part of the Sanctuary Course conducted by Caloundra Corps.

Raising mental health awareness and breaking the associated stigma prompted Caloundra Corps to address the issue over an eight-week course recently.

“I think this was a great growing-up process for individuals and for the corps,” said Aux-Lieut Karen Clark, one of the corps officers at Caloundra. “If the church can’t be a safe place, where else can people have these conversations?”

During April and May, the corps ran the Sanctuary Course, gave sermons exploring how biblical characters with mental health challenges responded and provided follow-up resources for their regular life groups. About 50 community and corps members participated in the weekly Sanctuary Course sessions.

According to the Sanctuary website, “Sanctuary’s resources integrate theological, psychological, and lived experience perspectives. They are developed with the conviction that informed and empathetic conversations about mental health challenges can transform communities of faith.”

The course is free, has multiple engaging resources and combines mental health professionals, theologians and people with lived experience sharing their perspectives. The whole course is centred around Psalm 42.

“We were so encouraged by the feedback from participants,” Karen said. According to survey comments at the conclusion of the course, some people said they wished they had done the course years ago, that they learnt so much about themselves, and they didn’t realise how important and easy it was to discuss mental health. They also realised that people might look like they are okay but not know how much some of them were struggling.

For people interested in the Sanctuary Course content and approach, access the following link:

– Cliff Worthing


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