The Lions – Releasing Possibility

Cheryl Hawkins

Project: Encourage Mental Health
Location: Leicester, Leicestershire

About Me

Hi, I’m Cheryl and I have a passion for mental health. I am a trained psychiatrist, but instead of seeing patients I now teach people about mental health. I train businesses, schools, and other organisations, but what I most enjoy is training churches in how to support people experiencing mental illness.

I became a Christian when I was 21 and currently attend an evangelical church. I am married and have two teenage children, a cat, and a dog. Our family also foster, and I am involved in supporting Home for Good, a Christian charity which promotes fostering and adoption.

About My Project

Encourage Mental Health training for churches helps churches to respond to the needs of people experiencing poor mental health. We train our Mental Health Church Champions over six half day sessions to enable them to spot the signs and symptoms of poor mental health. We give them the confidence to be able to have conversations around difficult topics, and we provide a model for them to use to encourage and support the individual and their family when they are going through hard times.

Our training is practical and Bible based for the unique needs of the church addressing the specific concerns, challenges and strengths that churches have when helping someone living with mental illness.

Once somebody has completed the training to be a Mental Health Church Champion they become a member of our community of champions which meets once a month online for support and further training. Our community also has a private online forum where they can support each other and discuss the best ways to help those they are supporting.

Encourage Mental Health also runs training days that the whole church can attend to provide a general understanding and awareness of mental health conditions and how to support those experiencing them.