Caring for mental health in Helston

10 October 2023

For Mental Health Day, we would like to share the great initiatives started by Central Methodist Church in the South of Cornwall: Hard Pressed but not Crushed and Stitch in the Ditch.

Central Methodist Church in Helston, Cornwall, is a beautiful and striking building in the busy centre of the town. One of the largest churches of the Lizard and Mount's Bay Methodist Circuit, Central Methodist Church has become a lighthouse for many people in need, notably for those struggling with mental health.

Central Methodist Church has been a long-term ally in Cornwall's fight against poverty. Catering for physical needs such as meals, providing access to showers and clothing, the church decided to also provide mental health support.

Embedded in its community, Central Methodist Church reached out to local social prescribers and doctors. The initiative proved so successful that local GPs offer the support groups at Central Methodist Church to patients.

“I think all of us can be vulnerable sometimes. As a chapel we felt we needed to do something. As Christians we are not exempt from poor mental health, but we do have someone who walks alongside us,” explains Revd Danny Reed, superintendent of the Lizard and Mount’s Bay Circuit.

Two initiatives are in place to help the community, the first one is Hard Pressed but not Crushed. A discussion and a supportive time over breakfast on Saturday mornings these are informal and confidential conversations. “One day, we might talk about the medications we use and their side effects. Other times, we might talk about how walking along the coastal path and being with nature helps,” adds Danny. “We are a listening service for anyone who needs a chat and we signpost to further help.”

helston-1The second one is Stitch in the Ditch – a sewing term used when one is doing patchwork – a women-only group offering time to discuss what’s on their mind while crafting with recycled materials. Meeting every Tuesday, the group offers mental health support, some are lonely and all are eager to chat and engage.

“There are people from all walks of life in the group. The help we are providing is recognised by the NHS and we have direct referrals from our local hospital,” adds Sarah Reed, Mission Enabler, Epworth Centre Missioner and Community Worker.

An extension to Stitch in the Ditch is Care for the Carers. Some people who were interested in coming to the group could not attend because of their work as carers. Central Methodist Church decided to ensure that the carers were given the time to have fun and relax once a month. This event is supported by about 25 people, including healthcare professionals.