By Kelly Rowe
It was in the early autumn of 2021 and Assistant Curate, Stephen Williams began leading a prayerful discernment group at St Mabyn church. Following an online survey and consultation in the village, it became evident that there was a need for mental health support. The community was reeling from the effects of four suicides within the village and hinterlands during the past 18 months.
This need struck a chord with Stephen who, throughout his professional life has demonstrated a passion for supporting those adversely affected by mental health. The prayer group quickly discerned the need to set up some support in St Mabyn and the wider agricultural community as a form of mission and outreach to the local community.
Building a team
The group was already aware of a retired mental health professional working in the village and a member of the congregation who had previously managed a psychiatric ward for people with dementia. Then a Samaritan moved to the village and a manager of ward on a local hospice made contact. All were keen to be involved.
Conversations with Mind and Rethink helped the group formulate their structure. Rethink provided much of the practical support, including DBS Checks, start-up funding and communication systems. The group considered too, how to support one another through post-session debriefs and peer supervision.
The Support Squad became the name for the group but it was fundamental that they were clear from the outset on what they can and cannot do so they formulated a vision to reflect this:
The Support Squad strive to bring together St Mabyn residents and local communities by promoting well-being and helping members of the group build valuable friendships. We aim to offer emotional support to adults experiencing mental health issues, whether it be personally, caregivers, friends or family, and provide them with the practical help needed to access local and national services.
The Support Squad are not a therapeutic service but provide signposting. They are currently drawing up a list of support additional to their own knowledge as well as a set of group rules that members must adhere to regarding confidentiality and respect of others and their views.
The five co-ordinators are working together well and excited by the support they will provide for the community. Please hold the team and community in your prayers.