The 10th October is recognised annually as an international day of global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. The theme this year is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’, and provides an opportunity for conversations surrounding how mental health can be prioritised as a basic human right for all, regardless of race, social class or ability.
Maintaining good mental health is crucial to our overall quality of life, however, studies show that one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions. This is likely to impact physical health, well-being and our everyday connections with others.
Recently, Sister Stan Kennedy spoke to the Irish Independent about The Sanctuary, a meditation centre she founded in the heart of Dublin 7 in 1998. The Sanctuary was set-up with the aim of providing a peaceful retreat for people to break away from busy city life. Sr Stan describes the initial idea behind The Sanctuary: “I had this idea — a kind of a dream, really. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place in the city where you could open the door and go into a place that was beautiful and that was quite still, peaceful, which would speak to the person: speak to their inner self, the inner peace in everyone, and would help them”.
The Sanctuary is running a 31-day meditation challenge for the month of October to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10th. As Sr Stan told the Independent: “We’re building a programme for the whole month of October that will help people to experience peace, to experience quiet, to experience stopping, pausing for just 10 minutes each day for the 31 days”. Participants of the challenge will receive a meditation on each of the 31 days, recorded by The Sanctuary’s own experienced mindfulness teachers.
Mindfulness is a way for us to improve and maintain our mental health, however we can also make a difference by offering help to our community, friends, family members and colleagues. Signs of mental distress often include social withdrawal, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outbursts, and talking about death or suicide. By reaching out to those we feel may be vulnerable, we can let them know that we’re there for them.
Join us in a prayer to mark the day:
Loving God, we pray today for those who are confronted by the sadness,
ambiguity and confusion of mental illness, and for those upon whom they
depend for attention and compassionate care. Look with mercy on all
whose afflictions bring them weakness, distress, confusion or isolation.
Provide for them homes of dignity and peace; give to them understanding
helpers and the willingness to accept help. We ask this in the name of
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For more information, please see: https://sanctuary.ie/2022/09/24/the-sanctuarys-31-day-meditation-challenge-2022/