In the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday on August 30, the Catholic bishops of Australia have released the Social Justice Statement for 2020-21, which focuses on mental health.
The statement, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today, encourages faith communities, governments and individuals to make mental health a priority.
Bishop Terry Brady, Bishop Delegate for Social Justice on the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, has called on all Catholics to take up the message and challenges of the statement.
“This is a timely message in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is affecting many members of our parishes, schools and communities,” Bishop Brady said.
“The personal feelings of anxiety and despair we all share at this time provide an opportunity to become more aware and active in fostering the mental health of all. Understanding mental health will help us to be aware of those who most need our support.”
The statement encourages parishes and local communities to be places of welcome and inclusion, overcoming the barriers and stigma often faced by people experiencing mental ill-health. It demands the commitment of governments and policy-makers to prevent so many people falling through the cracks of the mental health system.
It also calls for the nation’s commitment to address those policies that exacerbate the already precarious circumstances of First Australians and refugees and asylum-seekers.