It is Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K. and celebs and important people are saying woke things about getting rid of the stigma of mental illness all over the place. Today it is the turn of Prince William who has launched an initiative to get footballers and the football authorities involved in a campaign to encourage men to talk about mental health problems without the fear of negative repercussions.
Hopefully, because of this trendy interest in the status of the mentally ill within society, people who suffer from mental health problems in the future will not have to endure the career-destroying bigotry I faced when I became very poorly with clinical depression just over twenty years ago. I was told by the Bishop of Newcastle that a person who suffered from depression should not be a parish priest. Subsequently, he pushed me out of the Church altogether and he has been supported in this by every other bishop in the Church of England and all my former colleagues who have done nothing to restore me to my vocation in life.
The truth is, because I have been unemployed and exiled from the Church for nine years and nobody is reaching out to me to redeem my situation, it is self-evident that the bishops of the Church of England and most of its priests are as prejudicial towards those with mental health problems now as they were twenty years ago. This leads me to believe that all this talk about treating the mentally ill with respect and understanding is a load of hot air meant to increase the prestige of the important people doing the talking rather than improving the lives of the people they are talking about. Hopefully, I am wrong but I have asked many bishops for help, including the present bishops of Newcastle and Durham, and they have ignored me and distanced themselves from me. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is always banging on about depression in his own family, was completely useless when I asked him for help whilst he was the bishop of Durham. He offloaded me onto a rural dean with absolutely no pastoral skill (even though he had been through times of great, mental turmoil himself) who could not wait to dump me as soon as Justin Welby cleared off to Lambeth.