Creating mental health friendly churches

Group of people chatting and laughing in church

Creating mental health friendly churches

Published: 29 June 2022
£21,300 of Brighter Lives funding is helping Kintsugi Hope to develop its Mental Health Friendly Church project in response to the need for churches to become safe places for people struggling with mental health issues.
By carrying out research, communicating the findings and creating tools and resources, Kintsugi Hope has a vision the see local churches leading the way in society with:
• an elevated understanding of mental health and mental illness, 
• the eradication of stigma against mental illness and 
• the encouragement to respond with compassion, providing safe and supportive spaces for everyone to grow and flourish. 
The story so far

In the summer of 2020, the co-founders of Kintsugi Hope, Patrick and Diane Regan, gathered Christian leaders from across the country online to see how, together, we could create more safe and supportive spaces for people to explore mental and emotional health. It was a rich time of praying and dreaming together, and one of those attending voiced these words:
'It's great that Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing groups can be safe and supportive spaces - but what happens when church isn’t a safe and supportive space?’
This question sparked a conversation about the culture shift needed within our churches and communities about how we view mental health. This is where the seed of the Mental Health Friendly Church project was first planted and in April 2021, it launched.
In 2021, the Mental Health Friendly Church project partnered with Christian think tank, Theos, to conduct qualitative research with church leaders and a quantitative study of over 1,000 regular church-goers. Kintsugi Hope wanted a clear understanding of the attitudes towards mental health to enable resources which were tailored directly to the current needs of the church and the communities they serve.
Kintsugi Hope was encouraged to find the interviewees overwhelmingly agreed that churches can help people experiencing mental health issues. However, the research indicated a clear need for more local churches to create welcoming, safe and supportive mental health friendly communities. 
91% of church leaders interviewed had received no training in mental health, despite mental health being identified as an ongoing need and issue within the church. 56% of interviewees said their church rarely or never spoke about mental health, and only 35% of the interviewees agreed that they felt positively supported by the church concerning their own mental health.

Plans for the future

With the support of Benefact Trust’s recent Brighter Lives funding, Kintsugi Hope is determined to improve these statistics and make a positive difference throughout the UK. 
The Mental Health Friendly Church project will therefore be offering a one-day training course for leaders, lay leaders and congregations. The aim of this training is to understand the language we use around mental health, the biblical mandate for mental health and the role of the church in practically supporting everyone with their mental health, as well as those affected by mental illness. 
The first training days are booked in from September 2022, and Kintsugi Hope is experiencing an increasing demand for places.
The charity aims to provide sermon outlines, small group materials and events to encourage a national conversation about mental health in churches - and these are planned to be released from 2023.  
For more information visit:  
To enquire about or to book a Mental Health Friendly Church Training Day, contact the team at Kintsugi Hope: 

Related articles

Ready to apply?

Once you've identified which grant is right for you, taken a look at how to apply and formed a project plan, it's potentially time to start your funding journey
Children wearing life jackets sitting on a boat

Benefact Group's work

As a Trust, our ability to support and fund so many worthwhile causes, is made possible by the hard work of the award-winning specialist financial businesses that make up Benefact Group – which gives all its available profits to the Trust, sustaining our giving. As a part of the Benefact Group each business, whether it be in specialist insurance, investment management, broking or advisory shares the Trust’s ethos of giving back.