These pages provide resources and guidance to help Friends respond with compassion when people in their Quaker community show signs of mental distress.

Learn more about the breadth of Quaker Life's work on mental health and the other organisations that are partners in the work.

Find out what's available

    What are Quakers doing about mental health?

    Quaker mental health group

    The Quaker Mental Health Group brings together groups that have some involvement in mental health in our yearly meeting. The group has representatives from seven different organisations. It was formed in 2015 after the Towards a Quaker View of Mental Health conference. The organisations involved in the group are:

    Quaker Action on Mental Health (QAMH)

    This is a newly forming group thinking about our Quaker ministry on mental health. Its work might involve campaigning, speaking out and looking at wider issues in society.

    Contact Alison Mitchell: mhdo@retreatyorkbfund.com for more information.

    Resources

    Mental health in our meetings leaflet

    The Mental health in our meetings leaflet (PDF) gives information to help meet the needs of the individual in distress. The viewpoint of the carer and the wider community are explored. There are 'queries' to enable Friends to think about the issues arising.

    Encounters with mental distress: Quaker stories

    This book shares Quakers' experiences of mental distress. You can buy Encounters with mental distress: Quaker stories from the Quaker bookshop website.

    Your Quaker community can use the Encounters accompaniment leaflet (PDF) to explore themes in the book.

    Mental health conversations

    Mental health conversations (PDF) explores Quaker witness on mental health. It is based on conversations with 23 Quakers who have lived experience of mental distress. Read about The elephant in the room in the Quaker blog written alongside the conversations project.

    Quaker Life Representative Council

    Quaker Life Representative Council's theme in October 2019 was mental health. A series of films were made during the event with Friends describing their experience of the workshops and activities that were offered.

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    Quaker Life Representative Council films

    The boundaries game workshop

    Caring for carers workshop

    Experiment with Light workshop

    Faith in community workshop

    Living with anxiety workshop

    Snakes and ladders workshop

    Get in touch with Bev Smith: beverleys@quaker.org.uk if you would like more information about this theme and how you might run activities in your community.

    Workshops and training

    Mental Health in our Meetings course for role holders

    Mental Health in our Meetings runs each year at Woodbrooke. It helps Friends with responsibility for eldership and oversight find good ways of responding to mental distress in their community.

    Opening the door to talking about mental health workshop

    A two and a half hour workshop facilitated by Quaker Life staff and Quaker volunteers. It helps to get your community talking about mental health issues in a safe and relaxed way. It uses extracts from the Encounters with mental distress book to open up discussion and two interactive games designed to get Friends talking about mental health.

    Mental Health Cluster email

    A regular email with information on events and activities about Quakers and mental health. Subscribe to the mental health cluster email.

    Young people's mental health

    YQspace is a website for young Quakers where there are details of activities, events and opportunities for young people to get involved. The YQspace mind section gives suggestions for supporting young people's mental health. Links to organisations that offer support are available.

    Mental Health Empowering Meetings Project Officer

    For further advice and guidance on areas of mental health in meetings you can contact Bev Smith: beverleys@quaker.org.uk, 020 7663 1177.

    Spirituality and mental health

    Quakerism has a foundational basis within the Christian tradition. There is much that can be learnt from looking at the life of Jesus when it comes to consideration of mental distress.

    Quaker faith & practice and mental health

    George Fox, known as the founder of Quakers, encouraged us to think about 'What canst thou say?' The writings of Friends have been brought together in our book of discipline: Quaker faith & practice (Qf&p). In Qf&p there is a wealth of material to help and advise us when we are in mental distress.

    Mental distress, despair, depression and darkness within

    Acceptance of ourselves

    Sometimes everyone struggles to accept both our light and our dark sides. This can then lead to emotional discomfort and mental distress. We can also be driven by a desire to 'fix' rather than accept. There is much wisdom on this topic from Friends.

    Some Friends have been brave enough to share their personal experiences.

    Personal experience of mental distress

    There are other passages within Qf&p suggesting that the divine is with us in pain and suffering.

    Divine alongside us in our pain and suffering

    Divine alongside us in web and waft of life

    Caring

    Contact us

    Bev Smith
    Mental Health Empowering Meetings Project Officer
    020 7663 1177
    beverleys@quaker.org.uk