Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May)

In these challenging times, everybody’s mental wellbeing is being tested.  Even those amongst us who enjoy good mental health find themselves perhaps troubled during these days of lockdown.  It is natural and understandable.  It is a situation that we find unprecedented in our lives and each day can bring a set of different emotions ranging from positivity to depression, loneliness and/or anxiety of one kind or another.   We may not be able to have the physical or tactile closeness that some of us enjoy but we have the power of our voices and amazing technology in our day to be able to still connect with one another.  Nobody is alone.

I am reminded at this time of the passage from Joshua 6 about the walls of Jericho.  As it says, “now Jericho was shut up tight because of the Israelites; no one could leave or enter the city”.  What a great analogy to our present situation.  We may all feel that we are faced with our own wall, a wall that as each week of lockdown goes by seems harder to get over.  It may be a single metaphorical wall, or the walls of our homes that present us with a sense of claustrophobia or being trapped.   The Children of Israel were instructed to come together in faith and march around the wall seven times over seven days.  Each day for six days they marched around the outside of the city wall and on the seventh with a mighty blast and shout, the walls did indeed collapse and the wall was overcome.   Each day they would make the arduous lap of the wall, coming together as a community, having faith in God’s word that by might and by power they would bring that wall down in order to go forward.  Each week of lockdown may have felt like our own difficult lap of our own “wall”.  However, as a community we have come together in strength to find new relationships, support and encouragement to continue our personal and collective march in these uncertain times.

Alyth’s Darkness into Light care programme has connected so many members of the community with each other.  New relationships and connections are being made each week as volunteers phone congregants.  Relationships that are helping to support each other and make sure that no one is mentally “alone” during this difficult time.  Relationships, in some cases, that will endure way beyond Covid-19.  As a community we have come together to ensure that the metaphorical wall that some of us are facing does not need to be faced alone.

During Mental Health Awareness Week Reform Judaism will be holding a zoom talk each day 12:30 to 13:30.   Details of the full programme can be found at and on Wednesday, 20 May, Alyth will be co-hosting with RJ a talk by Alyth member Hannah Abrahams who is an educational psychologist and who will be talking about the effects on the mental health on parents and children as they homeschool and/or face going back to school.

Hebrew Senior Life is an organisation in America which provides useful resources on a series of health conditions.  Please click here to find really useful tips for maintaining good mental health during these times which I hope you will find useful.

Whether we put our faith in God or the scientists and those that are working to make sure that we find an end to this situation, however long it takes, we as a strengthened community in these unprecedented times can continue  to support each other as we continue our march around the “wall”.  May we all one day very soon be able to give a loud shout for joy when the wall comes tumbling down and we can once again enjoy good and safe times.