Bishops’ annual Social Justice Statement focuses on mental health

4 August 2020 by

The Catholic bishops of Australia have released the Social Justice Statement 2020-21, on the critical
subject of mental health, in the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday on August 30.

The, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today, encourages faith communities,
governments and individuals to make mental health a priority.

Bishop Terry Brady, Bishop Delegate for Social Justice on the Bishops Commission for Social Justice,
Mission and Service, has called on all Catholics to take up the message and challenges of the

“This is a timely message in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is affecting many
members of our parishes, schools and communities,” Bishop Brady said.
“The personal feelings of anxiety and despair we all share at this time provide an opportunity to
become more aware and active in fostering the mental health of all. Understanding mental health
will help us to be aware of those who most need our support.”

The Statement encourages parishes and local communities to be places of welcome and inclusion,
overcoming the barriers and stigma often faced by people experiencing mental ill-health. It demands
the commitment of governments and policy-makers to prevent so many people falling through the
cracks of the mental health system.

It also calls for the nation’s commitment to address those policies that exacerbate the already
precarious circumstances of First Australians and refugees and asylum-seekers.

“Our society tends to push away or draw away from those who confront us with our frailties and
limitations. This is not the way of Jesus,” Bishop Brady said.

“Let us follow him in drawing near to those who are experiencing mental ill-health and acknowledge
that they are members of the Body of Christ – ‘they’ are part of ‘us’. Only then can we say ‘we are all
in this together’. Only then can we ‘live life to the full’.”

In addition to the written statement, which is free to download, the Australian Catholic Bishops
Conference’s Office for Social Justice has also produced an audio recording of the statement. Prayer
cards are available to download and liturgical resources will be available for parishes to mark Social
Justice Sunday on August 30.

“I commend this Statement to every parish, school and Church network and invite you to promote it
as widely as possible,” Bishop Brady said.

You will find on the Office for Social Justice website:

Image and text from ACBC media release