These pages provide resources and guidance to help Friends respond with compassion when people in their Quaker community show signs of mental distress.

Learn more about the breadth of Quaker Life's work on mental health and the other organisations that are partners in the work.

Find out what's available


    Mental health in our meetings

    This leaflet gives information to help meet the needs of the individual in distress. The viewpoint of the carer and the wider community are explored.

    What are Quakers doing about mental health?

    Quaker Voices on Mental Health

    A group that looks at our Quaker ministry on mental health. Friends are exploring and reflecting, speaking out and campaigning, thinking about wider issues in society.



    Mental health in our meetings leaflet

    The Mental health in our meetings leaflet (PDF) gives information to help meet the needs of the individual in distress. The viewpoint of the carer and the wider community are explored. There are 'queries' to enable Friends to think about the issues arising.

    Encounters with mental distress: Quaker stories

    This book shares Quakers' experiences of mental distress. You can buy Encounters with mental distress: Quaker stories from the Quaker bookshop website.

    Your Quaker community can use the Encounters accompaniment leaflet (PDF) to explore themes in the book.

    Mental health conversations

    Mental health conversations (PDF) explores Quaker witness on mental health. It is based on conversations with 23 Quakers who have lived experience of mental distress. Read about The elephant in the room in the Quaker blog written alongside the conversations project.

    Dementia in our Quaker meetings

    Dementia is an issue faced by many Friends. They might experience it directly or when caring for or loving someone with the condition.

    Dementia in our Quaker meetings (pdf) offers some thoughts on being together in a Quaker community when dementia is present. The reflections here might be helpful for someone living with dementia, for those supporting someone with the condition, or indeed for anyone in the wider Quaker community.

    Quaker Life Representative Council

    Quaker Life Representative Council's theme in October 2019 was mental health. A series of films were made during the event with Friends describing their experience of the workshops and activities that were offered.

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    Quaker Life Representative Council films

    The boundaries game workshop

    Caring for carers workshop

    Experiment with Light workshop

    Faith in community workshop

    Living with anxiety workshop

    Snakes and ladders workshop

    Workshops and training

    Opening the door to talking about mental health workshop

    A two and a half hour workshop facilitated by Quaker Life staff and Quaker volunteers. It helps to get your community talking about mental health issues in a safe and relaxed way. It uses extracts from the Encounters with mental distress book to open up discussion and two interactive games designed to get Friends talking about mental health. Contact Quaker Life to find out about Opening the Door workshops.

    Young people's mental health

    YQspace is a website for young Quakers where there are details of activities, events and opportunities for young people to get involved. The YQspace mind section gives suggestions for supporting young people's mental health. Links to organisations that offer support are available.

    Spirituality and mental health

    Quakerism has a foundational basis within the Christian tradition. There is much that can be learned by looking at the life of Jesus when it comes to consideration of mental distress.

    Quaker faith & practice and mental health

    George Fox, known as the founder of Quakers, encouraged us to think about 'What canst thou say?' The writings of Friends have been brought together in our book of discipline: Quaker faith & practice (Qf&p). In Qf&p there is a wealth of material to help and advise us when we are in mental distress.

    Mental distress, despair, depression and darkness within

    Acceptance of ourselves

    Sometimes everyone struggles to accept both our light and our dark sides. This can then lead to emotional discomfort and mental distress. We can also be driven by a desire to 'fix' rather than accept. There is much wisdom on this topic from Friends.

    Some Friends have been brave enough to share their personal experiences.

    Personal experience of mental distress

    There are other passages within Qf&p suggesting that the divine is with us in pain and suffering.

    Divine alongside us in our pain and suffering

    Divine alongside us in web and waft of life