Mental Health Matters 2015 (archive)

This page contains information about a past event, for details of the 2017 Mental Health Matters Conference, click here.


Friday 5th - Sunday 7th June 2015

Cliff College, Cliff Lane, Calver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S32 3XG

Click here to view the Mental Health Matters 2015 Programme


For information about workshops and workshop facilitators, please click here


In June 2015 the Methodist Church was delighted to introduce its first ever Mental Health Matters  Conference.

Taking place over a weekend (from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime), Mental Health Matters was designed to provide training, support and advice to children and youth workers, ministers, lay employees and anyone else who wanted to learn more about mental health issues affecting members of their congregation.


The 2015 theme was 'Equipping Churches to Respond'. With keynotes and workshops covering mental health issues experienced by children and young people, adults and the elderly, Mental Health Matters sought to provide essential tools which will enable members of the church to support those with mental health issues and help make the church a welcoming, inclusive, understanding and caring environment.


Keynote Speakers

Gill Dascombe - Vice-President of Methodist Conference, Gill Dascombe works in the National Health Service as a medicines information/training pharmacist specialising in psychiatry. In addition she was a primary carer for 8 years for a close family member who suffered from mental ill health. She is interested in the possible connections between religious experience and mental health and made this the subject for a BA (Theology) thesis in 2007, entitled 'Spirituality and Psychosis'. She has made mental illness a primary focus of her year as Vice-President.

Cass Howes - before Cass became a minister, she was a psychiatric nurse. Now a university chaplain, her expertise is with students experiencing mental ill health while studying, with those who work in university support services (including chaplaincy) who support them and their friends and relatives. She has direct experience of working with a range of faith (and no faith) communities in raising awareness of mental health issues.

Cass has facilitated training sessions with university mental health advisors for university chaplains. She has been involved in supporting academics and administrative staff in recognising and managing students with mental ill health, including in crisis situations. She has also worked in collaboration with secular agencies in creating networks of support for those suffering mental ill health. She is also a 'labyrinth' facilitator and works with others on how to use the labyrinth for health and wellbeing.

Julian Raffay - Julian is Specialist Chaplain (Research, Education and Development) with Mersey Care NHS Trust. Before that, he worked for six years as Chaplain Team Leader with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and has published a number of articles on spiritual care and approaches to care.

Julian established a mental health working team in collaboration with the Diocese of Sheffield that encourages churches (and potentially faith communities) to come to a deeper understanding of mental health issues and healthcare providers to come to a deeper understanding of spiritual care. Julian's passion for advocacy led him to become the Chair of the Sheffield Mental Health Citizens Advice Bureau and to see through its merger. Julian recognises that he has had his own experiences of mental health difficulties in the past and this has resulted in his valuing of recovery approaches.

Fiona Williams - Fiona is a Senior Educational Psychologist in the largest local authority Psychological Service in the UK and has been a Chartered Psychologist for 14 years.  Educational psychology in Scotland is based in community settings, working with families, schools, social work departments and with children looked after by the local authority.

Special aspects of Fiona's work are supporting families to change when child protection is an issue; providing training and support for foster and adoptive parents and developing support structures within secondary schools, especially with young people who have social, emotional and behavioural needs.  Social inclusion, equality and commitment to the co-construction of change permeates Fiona's work and in any presentation, she always hopes to stimulate and support change while respecting the expertise of the audience.

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