The Australian Catholic bishops’ Social Justice Statement on mental health offers a timely counterbalance to a public conversation on the pandemic marked by fragmentation. The document encourages everyone to Live Life to the Full.
At that time there was a broader emphasis on the good of the whole society, and so of each person and group in it, on the need to act boldly and to trust leaders to serve the public good, on pride in the quiet heroism of people working at risk and on the gift that people in menial occupations were to society. A romantic view, no doubt, but one that flowed out of the realisation that the health and prosperity of Australians could be secured only by self-sacrifice for the greater good.
The statement, To Live Life to the Full, embodies this generous vision. Its title emphasises the gift that each human being is, and the blessing that is mental health. Health is not to be taken for granted as an entitlement but accepted and nurtured as a gift.
The statement represents a Christian vision of life lived to the full, and the network of respectful and compassionate relationships that characterise a good society.