PATRICIA RHODES (May 23) is quite right to point out the lack of attention to mental illness in the National Pastoral Congress report, and the apparent confusion between mental illness and mental handicap. Pressure of time and some editorial difficulties in producing the final reports, were the culprits In the more detailed topic reports, I believe, both subjects are dealt with, and dealt with separately. On menial illness, Topic five of sector C affirmed strongly the neglected rights of mentally ill within the Church. It also requested that a working party should be set up.
The social Welfare Commission has already plans in hand for a
working party on thi subject, which may well fulfil the request made to the, Bishops. if they should so decide.
Nicholas Conte Secretary, Social Welfare Commission
W. FERNEE (June 6) echoes the concern of many parents and others involved n the care of the mentally handicapped. A separate and equally worthy area for concern is that of the mentally ill.
May I refer you and all who would like to be better informed to the very helpful leaflet The Handicapped Person in the Church published by the Social Welfare Commission, 1980, which also makes practical suggestions for ways in which we can 'actively recognise the dignity and value of handicapped people :. and ensure that they are not deprived of opportunities to participate as fully as possible in the mission of the Church in the world'.
Another way of becoming better informed is actual involvement in those (separate) residential establishments that cater for the mentally sick and the mentally handicapped. Voluntary workers are normally welcomed and often there is a specific ally appointed co-ordinator of voluntary services to ensure that the best use of volunteers is made.
Joy Abhati Cardiff.