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Mental health project moves forward

The Church of Ireland’sMindMatters COI programme has moved into a new phase with a renewed focus on training for clergy, funding more mental health promotion projects in parishes, promoting the Clergy Assistance Programme, and supporting young people in their mental health.

MindMattersCOI was launched in October 2020 and its first phase – funded by Benefact Trust – concluded with a major conference in Dublin’s Radisson Blu Hotel last October, which celebrated 74 local projects from around the island.  The keynote speaker was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Today, Bishop Pat Storey, Rebekah Fozzard and Eddie Hallissey updated members of the General Synod – the Church’s governing body – on progress made and next steps at their annual meeting in the Armagh City Hotel.

Enhanced mental health awareness training will be provided as well as specific training for clergy on issues such as stress, burnout and conflict, delivered in partnership with Action Mental Health and Clergy Support Trust.

A new seed funding round from the Representative Church Body (the Church’s central trustee body) was launched in early April and will be open for applications untilFriday, 14th June. These grants will support projects across four categories:

  • Stigma – recognising that there continues to be a significant level of stigma in relation to mental health issues;
  • Connections – as our relationships with each other play an important role in positive mentalhealth;
  • Supporting clergy to support others – clergy may benefit from additional training to support parishioners experiencing mental health issues, and can feel unsupported in relation to their own mental health; and
  • Faith as a support for mental health – with faith and prayer being important to the mental health of members of the Church.

Mindful of the importance of supporting clergy, the project team is reminding all clergy and their families that the Clergy Assistance Programme is available, free of charge, for them. Details on this support service are available on the MindMatterswebsite:

With a focus on youth,MindMatters will work with the Church of Ireland Youth Department on delivering youth mental health awareness training across the island in different locations in 2024, with the first one taking place in Belfast on Tuesday, 11th June, for those aged 16 to 24 years. These workshops are designed for young people to explore and discuss the various issues around mental and emotional well-being.

Church of Ireland National Youth Officer Simon Henry said: “Mental and emotional well-being is an issue that young people themselves are keenly aware of and one that is integral to healthy spiritual growth too for young Christians. I am encouraged that theMindMattersprogramme is now extending into youth training and awareness raising. Young people in our churches, schools and youth organisations need this type of support and guidance and any opportunity the Church has to offer it should be welcomed and attendance encouraged.”

Bishop Pat Storey, Chair of the MindMattersproject team and advisory group, said: “We are grateful for all the progress made through MindMattersover the last three years, and excited for what is to come over the next three years.  The funding for our mental health awareness work is making a real difference in the lives of people of all ages in our parishes and the communities we serve across Ireland.  Thanks also to the Representative Church Body’s Executive Committee for making the extension ofMindMatters COI one of its strategic priorities.”

To find out more aboutMindMatters COI and projects supported so far, please visit its website:

General Synod is meeting in the Armagh City Hotel.  Today is the second day of its in-person meeting