I would love to know how many Church of England bishops, archdeacons and lay executives watched "Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions" last night on British television, a programme about how people hide their mental illness in the workplace because one out of five mental health sufferers lose their jobs when their bosses find out. My guess is very few and then only those who are already committed to doing something about the heartless, cruel and cold treatment of those who work for the Church of England and suffer from mental health problems.
Oh, yes, they will read their books of quack psychology (disingenuously categorised as "pastoral care") and they will subject their staff to pigeonholing personality tests, but they will never, ever listen to the mentally ill themselves let alone help them. They prefer instead, like my ex-bishop, to take away their employment (sack them), to sweep them under the carpet and exclude them from the church.
One in five mental illness sufferers lose their jobs? My guess is that the percentage is much, much higher in the Church of England.
My life and the lives of countless others have been ruined because of the ignorance and arrogance of bishops who believe themselves to be experts on psychology but who are, in fact, completely ignorant about the true nature of mental illness, who are scared shitless about it and who run away from their pastoral responsibilities. And it's not just an English problem. In the last 24 hours I have received emails from an Anglican priest in a country where you would think everybody would be knowledgeable about mental health issues. That priest is being treated exactly the same as I was. That priest's boss is even coming out with the same "It must be work related stress" bullshit that I got from Martin Wharton.
Because of the collegiality of Church of England bishops and their natural instinct never to admit their mistakes and certainly never apologise and try to make right, it is extremely unlikely that I will ever be employed as a priest again. They will never redeem the evil they have committed in the past, but there is the possibility that they will start again from scratch and that employees of the Church of England who go down with a bout of madness will not, in the future, find themselves being treated like potential child abusers by the one person who should be most concerned with their recovery and future happiness. But it will need the friends of those with mental health problems to demand that the bishops educate themselves and start acting like Christian leaders not bank CEOs. More than anything we, the modern day lepers of the Church, need those few bishops who are not bigots to find their balls and force their less enlightened colleagues into getting educated about mental health. And not only that we could do with bishops who are Christlike rather than Murdochlike.