We at BCM’s homeless Care Centre are keen to understand mental health better. The majority of our guests either have or have had mental health issues, and it’s frequently a significant factor in someone becoming homeless.
We invited Mind, a mental health charity, to host some training for staff and volunteers. We wanted to know how to help people with anxiety, depression, anger and stress. We see all these things on a typical evening. The fact is, we can’t solve anyone’s mental health issues in one evening, but we can show love, understanding and sympathy and it’s important for us to remember not to judge someone by their actions or behaviour – all things that the Bible teaches us.
The Mind trainer stated that Christianity and church attendance were recognised by mental health charities as helpful factors towards positive mental health, wellbeing and lower levels of depression. As someone who previously struggled with depression but is now a follower of Jesus, I can certainly vouch for that!
So that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ll continue to serve meals, give clothes and offer showers. We’ll continue to offer practical support with housing, benefits and appointments. Our wonderful nurses Wendy and Ellie will continue to wash feet. But, most importantly, we’ll continue to tell guests about the good news, the love of Jesus Christ. We’ll continue to pray with them.
We ask that you would pray for our Care Centre guests to have open minds and soft hearts as we continue this work.
It’s OK not to be OK
The Care Centre is partnering with Renew Wellbeing, a charity which helps churches open spaces of welcome and inclusion to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.
In a simple café-style space hobbies and activities are shared. Each space has a quiet/prayer room. It works with mental health professionals to ensure good inclusive practices and create quiet, shared spaces where ‘it’s OK not to be OK’.
Renew Wellbeing offers inspiration, training and ongoing support and is making many small safe spaces available nationally. The BCM Care Centre is its first partnership with a homeless project. Laura comments:
‘On Tuesdays at Care Centre since October we have coloured, painted, drawn, knitted, made papier-mâché baubles, decorated stones, started a jigsaw… Most recently, egg decorating and friendship bracelets. Calm, relaxing music sets the atmosphere. Prayer times are at the start, in the middle and at the end of each session. Many guests pray out loud. The sense of God’s presence is palpable! Guests also ask us to pray for their own situations. It’s a privilege to be part of all God is doing.’