Mental health nurse raises concern over sign outside Mansfield church
A mental health nurse has raised concerns over a sign outside a Mansfield church asking ‘is there a point in life’ - which she fears could lead to someone ending their life.
The sign outside the Mansfield Baptist Church has attracted controversy as members of the community claim that the message could be interpreted differently by someone who is feeling suicidal and could lead to them taking their own life.
It invites people to come into the church and draw their own conclusions about whether there is a point to life.
One local resident, who works as a mental health nurse but did not wish to be named, said that she was ‘shocked’ and ‘disturbed’ after seeing the sign whilst stopping at the traffic lights near to the church.
She said: “I was shocked and disturbed when I first saw the sign, I could not believe what I was seeing.
“I’m thinking if you’re at a really really dark point in your life and you’re walking past and read that it could end a life.
“A lot of people who have mental health problems do turn to the church, and the church is a very valuable resource for people, but I think if they’re going to put that out there they need to be providing some substance to it."
She added: “I’m not saying this always happens, but when people are low they might have had a drink and could be planning on doing something or not doing something.
“In that area, you’ve got a lot of empty spaces, and a lot of empty fields and that could just be the thing that tips them over the edge.”
She is now calling for the church to remove the sign immediately as the message is not explained clearly.
A spokesperson for the church said: “The sign is a basic Christian message that God loves us and sent Jesus into this world to save us, show what the meaning of life is really about and fill us with hope as we have promised the eternal lives.”
They added: “After hearing the thoughts about it, I did say it would be good to have a clearer Christian message on the board because Christian faith is actually about hope and a postive message.
“The invitation to explore faith through our church is what the boards intention is.
“We do regularly change the message on the board, but COVID19 has meant that has been up for some months now during the church closure.”
According to the church a new sign will be put up in the coming weeks.
The church has previously helped and continues to help people struggling with mental health and has provided a place of welcome and support.
It runs a project called renew wellbeing, which aims to improve mental and emotional well being.
There are also members of the church who volunter with the Samaritans charity to provide support to anyone at risk of suicide.
For anyone struggling to cope during a difficult time, the Samaritans are available by calling 116 123 or visit their website for support at www.samaritans.org.