Tickets now on sale for first ever Methodist Mental Health Conference

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Tickets are now on sale for the first ever Mental Health Matters Conference organised by theMethodist Church.

The Conference will provide training, support and adviceto children, youth workers, ministers, lay employees and anyoneelse who wishes to learn more about mental health issues affectingmembers of their congregation. It will take place over the weekendof 5-7 June at Cliff College in Derbyshire. 

This year's theme will be 'Equipping Churches to Respond'and will include keynote speeches and workshops covering mentalhealth issues experienced by children and young people, adults andthe elderly.

Gill Dascombe, Vice-President of the Methodist Conferenceand a Medicines Information and Training Pharmacist specialising inpsychiatry for the NHS, will be one of the keynote speakers at theConference. "Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of," saidGill, who was the primary carer for her son for eight years whilehe was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. "One in four of uswill suffer from some form of mental illness during our lifetime,and still more of us have family members or friends who aresuffering in this way and need our support. But all too oftenmental illness is not spoken about, swept under the carpet andignored.

Mental health is an issue of growing concern amongchildren and young people and those who work with them. TheMethodist Children and Youth teamed up with the charity Young Minds to produce a series of resources that were launched at the3Generate Children and Youth Assembly back in November last year.The series of four age-specific cards can be downloaded here.

Gill Dascombe added:"Sometimes, even our Christian faithcan work against us, making us feel guilty if we can't put a braveface on things and 'pull ourselves together'. In society, those whoare severely mentally ill often are deserted by their family andfriends, and may drift down the social scale, enduring poor housingand deprived living conditions. Yet, although they are constantlytormented by their symptoms the side effects of their medications,many of them would tell you that the worst thing they have to faceis isolation."

At the 2014 Methodist Conference in Birmingham, youngMethodists challenged the Church to take mental health issuesseriously, calling for children's and youth workers to receiverelevant training. Gill Dascombe added that she is making mentalhealth a primary focus during her year as Vice-President of theMethodist Conference.