Clergy Support Trust funds independent confidential counselling service
Anglican clergy and their partners can now access counselling (talking therapies) for a range of reasons through Clergy Support Trust. The service is being delivered through a partnership between JR Corporate Health Ltd and Clergy Support Trust.
The counselling sessions are non-means tested, confidential and independent.
JR Corporate Health is led by Jan Rogers, a Registered Nurse, BACP Accredited Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor and she is supported by her husband, John Rogers, a retired priest, as well as a team of associate counsellors. With this experience JR Corporate Health is uniquely placed to help with issues arising out of ministry and the pressures these can place on relationships.
Counselling is available for clergy and their spouses experiencing a range of difficulties such as:
How to apply
There are two ways serving and retired clergy can apply for support:
[Health Grant CTA – direct category link]
[Wellbeing Grant CTA – direct category link]
Ordinands and their families should apply under Health Grants for ordinands.
As always, please feel free to contact our friendly Grants Team, in confidence, with your questions on [email protected] or 0800 389 5192.
Sarah Crombie, Director of Charitable Services or Clergy Support Trust said: “We are delighted to introduce this new counselling service, working in partnership with JR Corporate Health. 41% of beneficiaries surveyed for last year’s Clergy Support Trust impact report asked for more support with mental health and we are privileged to be able to offer this new service. The independent and confidential counselling service adds to our existing offer of supporting beneficiaries’ wellbeing.”
Jan Rogers Managing Director of JR Corporate Health, said:
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Clergy Support Trust, an organisation that is close to our hearts, particularly as a clergy family ourselves. We recognise the stresses that ministry can place on clergy and their families and we are passionate about supporting and strengthening them as they continue to minister to all those in their care and communities. Counselling is an opportunity to step away from parish life for a moment and to have the opportunity to talk about difficulties in a supportive environment. Its purpose is to enable objectivity and to discern answers to difficulties in collaboration with the therapist."
I was very interested to read that the Mental Health Foundation has chosen Nature as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021. As a dual-registered health professional, whose main concern centres around health of the whole person, I can well see why. We are increasingly reminded of the positive impact that nature can have on our mental health; reminders that have been particularly helpful during this time of pandemic.
This year has been a hard one for all of us, but for some more than others. We have lived through a period of enforced isolation in our communities that has been unprecedented in modern times and it seems that the impact of this continues to unfold on a daily basis. I see higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression in my nurse clinics and in my therapy room: from health professionals across the various disciplines, young adults working in isolation at home, those who have struggled to recover from Covid-19 and those who are simply unable to spend time with loved ones. I have heard many stories from people who have struggled to cope emotionally or physically or both. What many of these people share is a strong desire to retreat from the world, confining themselves to the home, withdrawing from others and from those things that keep us feeling good about life.
I believe that as human beings we were never meant to exist in a state of isolation. We are wired to respond to stimulus, whether that is the voice of another human being, the crashing of waves, a beautiful sunset, or the dawn chorus; if we listen carefully, we have the potential to be consumed by the beauty of it all. The problem is that when we are reduced in our capacity to respond from a position of strength, we find it difficult to motivate ourselves to engage with the simplest of things and we get caught up in a viscous cycle of isolation that is difficult to break.
So then what? Well, I think that the first step toward healing and wholeness is to acknowledge that there is a problem. So many people I speak to tell me that they struggle to acknowledge a problem, because a problem is a weakness, weakness leads to vulnerability and vulnerability results in a lack of control. But what about if we turn that on its head? I acknowledge that I have a problem, I feel powerless to address it, I feel vulnerable and in order to address it I need to reach out and draw some support to enable me to regain some sense of power and control. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, of course, it’s often not as easy as that.
If you know someone who is struggling to the point where they are unable to function and are at risk of serious harm, then I would encourage you, with their permission where possible, to seek immediate and appropriate professional help on their behalf. For those not at risk, gentle encouragement to seek some support may be all that is needed to stimulate the person into action. But what about the rest of us? I don’t know many people who haven’t been impacted to some degree by what has happened over this past year. It’s been a time for reflection for many; a time to consider how we live in the world, a time to consider how we function as individuals, how we relate to others and how we might grow and develop through the remainder of this year and beyond.
In order to do this, it may well be helpful to consider how we care for our mind, our bodies and that deeper emotional side of self, sometimes referred to as our “spiritual self”. Let’s call it a full MOT and let’s face it, if it is essential to have a full MOT in order for our car to function well, shouldn’t we apply the same principle to ourselves? How you address your health and wellbeing is for you to decide, but it may be worth considering the following: How is my physical health, including my diet and my lifestyle choices including smoking, drinking and level of physical activity? How are my relationships; are they healthy, equal, life-giving? How is my home-life; is it secure, physically and financially? How is my work; does it sustain me, am I able to contribute well, do I feel valued and supported?
If you find yourself questioning any of these things and if you are struggling in any way, then you may want to consider drawing some objective support in an attempt to restore some balance. The internet is a great starting point, although I urge caution around where you draw information from. Whilst NHS services might be particularly stretched at the moment, their website is a reputable source of support and can be accessed at: www.nhs.uk If you are looking to access some counselling support independently, then do ensure that you search via a professional organisation and you might wish to explore: www.bacp.co.uk for therapists in your area.
I wish you well on your journey. Jan
Children live what they learn
Photo by Madison Inouye
This week is Mental Health Week; a week when we are reminded to give a thought to the part of our being that, for too long, may have lived in the shadowlands of our existence. We might not hesitate in seeing a doctor if we have a physical concern, but when I ask someone if they have spoken to their GP about an emotional difficulty, more often than not, the answer is: "no". Why is this, I wonder, especially now, at a time when support services are advertised widely and when there is so much publicity around mental health matters.
My experience of working with adults has taught me that taking the first step in acknowledging a problem is often an almighty leap and one that exposes our vulnerability at the most fundamental of levels. Whether we have the courage to admit to someone else that we have a problem can prove very tricky indeed and may be a step too far. So, then what? For many, it will mean a lifetime of living with internalised feelings and emotions that may well impact on the individual's capacity to function well, both personally and within relationships.
It seems that the ability to reach out and draw support, either from a personal network or from a health professional, may well depend on our deeply rooted beliefs and values. As I was reflecting around our British culture, I was mindful of the phrase "keeping a stiff upper lip", which has become synonymous within our culture over the centuries. A trembling upper lip might often be interpreted as a weakness, so keeping a stiff upper lip demonstrates a level of courage and stoicism, which is to be commended. We often see these attitudes reflected in the art and literature of Victorian society and they appear to have served us well during two world wars and beyond. For men, particularly, courage and stoicism were important attributes as they sought to reassure their women-folk and keep family and community-life together. Historically, women were often considered the "weaker sex" and, despite the best efforts of the first women's suffrage movement in the nineteenth century, the perceived wisdom was that the role of the man was to provide, protect and remain strong.
Thankfully, attitudes appear to have shifted somewhat over the years since but, based on my work with men, I can't help but think that often, and unwittingly, our boys grow up to believe that they still need to demonstrate that same level of courage and stoicism that our forebears did. However, as highlighted earlier, it could be argued that the way in which we respond is typically a reflection of our various religious, community and familial beliefs and values. It appears that the extent to which we are able to acknowledge the frailty of our human condition will very much depend on our cultural norms.
Interestingly, it is not unusual for me to hear parents say that they will avoid becoming emotional in front of their children, simply because they don't want to upset them. Whilst I understand the sentiment, I do wonder what we are teaching our children about emotional expression. Despite our best efforts, it seems to me that we cannot protect our children from a lifetime of potential difficult or distressing events. As the saying goes, children live what they learn, but if they perceive from an early age that it is not acceptable to express feelings or emotions, how will they develop the resilience to cope with those difficulties later on? At the very least, there may well be an element of shame around admitting to a problem, which in turn may prevent the individual from accessing support.
If you are reading this and can identify with what I have said, I encourage you to reach out if you are struggling. If you find it difficult to talk to those around you, professional support may well enable you to make sense of the complex nature of being human. It is an opportunity to understand what motivates you to behave in the way that you do and an opportunity to find a more balanced way of living. If Mental Health Week is to teach us anything, I hope that it teaches us not to suffer in silence, but to seek appropriate support.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself, Jan
JR Corporate Health blogs cover topics such as management support, supervision, psychological support, critical incident support and wellbeing in the workplace.