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A message to our friends and supporters

Dear Friend and Supporter,

As we move into Spring and the potential end of our third lockdown we have all become aware of the often severe effects on the mental health of the various restrictions, as well as the awesome burden of dealing with the bereavements of over 100000 loved ones and the consequences for employment, family life, and much else. My own contacts tell me that mental health services are struggling to cope with the increased pressure of mental ill-health in the community. As our late friend Peter Gilbert reminded us, we all need to discover what is 'deep inside us' and so many people have been left asking about the meaning and purpose in their own lives in these difficult times.

After having looked at a number of guides to coping with the effects of the pandemic I wonder if more emphasis needs to be placed on spiritual and pastoral support for those affected by Covid which is the core of our focus at the Forum. Over the next few months I hope we can influence this agenda - please keep us in touch particularly with local and regional initiatives which can serve as models of good practice which with your permission can be put on our website to provide a helpful resource for those interested. In this way, we can develop our network as a community of practice.

You will by now have details of our next event on 18th March - Starving to death - life isn't for me' on spiritual conversations working alongside adolescent patients suffering from anorexia - the talk will be given by Elizabeth Anscombe and promises to provide valuable insights on this important subject. This will then be followed by a talk by Aziz-ur Rehman and colleagues on Islamic and Christian psychotherapy on 8th April - booking details will follow shortly.

Finally, I would appreciate your help for a project on which I am currently working on pastoral and spiritual input for staff in residential homes, many of which do not have access to Chaplaincy services and who have had to experience the trauma of working in challenging conditions over the last year. If you know of any good practice initiatives in this area I would be pleased to know.

With best wishes

Ben Bano Chair of the Forum

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