Langrish backs Bill

01 February 2013

THE case of a priest formerly sectioned under the Mental Health Act was brought forward by the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, in the House of Lords this month, as evidence that full recovery from mental ill-health is "certainly" possible.

During a debate on the Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill, on 18 January, Bishop Langrish said that one of the barriers to both mental and spiritual health was "anything that reinforces, or fails to reduce, the stigma" experienced by those with mental-health problems.

He gave his support to the Bill, which seeks to repeal laws that prevent people with mental-health conditions from serving as MPs, jurors, or company directors.

The priest in his diocese was "now fully recovered, with a most effective ministry - perhaps even more so . . . given his empathy for others going through a similar experience."

Bishop Langrish suggested that "people find themselves sectioned largely because medical intervention to deal with their mental-health problems has not been made available at a much earlier stage."

On Tuesday, he suggested that the C of E was effective in supporting priests with mental problems. "Twenty, 30, or 40 years ago, it was not as good. Like the rest of society, we, too, have been learning," he said. "The Church's present policies . . . would appear to be very good."

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