Mon 13 – Wed 15 March, 2023
Optional post-conference workshop: 15-16 March
The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire

There are growing concerns about our mental health.

Rarely a week goes by without the publication of new statistics revealing alarming levels of psychological distress.

The Covid lockdown triggered anxiety states and eating disorders. A cost-of-living crisis only deepens the stress many are feeling. Anti-depressant use rises, but depression persists. Long waiting lists mean that many struggle with limited professional support. What is the church supposed to do?

Christians want to ‘care for those in need’ but often find mental illness challenging. Should their care be general or specific? Ad-hoc or arranged? We sense there should be a gospel shape to our response but we’re not sure how.

This conference will provide a Christian perspective on both mental health and mental illness. Turning to the Bible, we will ask whether modern psychiatric illnesses are foreign to the pages of Scripture or if God really does speak to them.

As well as addressing theoretical issues about the nature and origin of mental ill health, we want to be practical and explore how churches can minister grace to those who struggle. On issues such as these strong feelings abound. We can’t answer every question but we will explore the place of medication and how the past impacts us.

We will also ask what difference the gospel should make. With creative ideas from the front and relaxed time to discuss with others, this conference aims to help churches connect and care well for all who struggle with their mental health.


Alongside plenary sessions which will include a conference sermon, four keynote talks will set out a mental health framework:

  • Thinking biblically about mental health
  • The body and mental illness
  • The past and mental illness
  • The gospel, the church and mental health

Four separate streams will apply this thinking to different contexts. Delegates will choose one of these streams according to their area of work and interests.

STREAM 1 Church-based care
This will be the main (and much the largest) stream where delegates will explore how, by working together in our churches, we can provide wise, godly care for those who struggle with their mental health.

STREAM 2 Pastors and church leaders
This will cover much of the same territory as Stream 1 but with a particular focus on men and women with overall responsibility in church leadership and decision making.

STREAM 3 Professional counsellors
This stream is for those currently working as professional counsellors who either are, or would like to develop, counselling in a way that is clearly rooted in a biblical counselling approach.

STREAM 4 Mental health workers (for example, psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses)
For people whose professional work with mental health problems takes place in a secular setting. We realise some counsellors may need to choose between this stream and Stream 3.

Dealing with depression

In this optional 24-hour post-conference workshop we will focus on the particular experience of depression.

As well as allowing time for a more concentrated consideration of causes and treatments, the workshop will explore some of the different ways depression is experienced and some of the practical challenges in providing support both in individual counselling and in the context of church community.

There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and the workshop will involve input both from church leaders and those who have trained and worked in a mental health setting.


Steve Midgley
Executive Director of Biblical Counselling UK, and senior minister at Christ Church, Cambridge

Helen Thorne
Director of Training and Resources,
Biblical Counselling UK

Ste Casey
Pastor of Speke Baptist Church, Liverpool

Chris Schofield
Consultant Psychiatrist

Andrew Collins
Director of the Certificate Course, Biblical Counselling UK

Joanna Jackson
Director of Counselling,
All Souls Counselling Service, London

Andrew Nicholls
Director of Pastoral Care at Oak Hill College

Zena Schofield

Consultant Psychiatrist


The Hayes Conference Centre is 5 miles from the M1 (Junction 28), and three miles from Alfreton railway station.


Accommodation is available in single, double or twin rooms. All rooms are ensuite.

The residential prices are per person and include all meals during the conference, starting with lunch on Monday and finishing with lunch on the final day.

The non-residential price includes all meals except breakfast.


Monday 13 March with lunch at 12.45pm. Session 1 starts at 2pm

Wednesday 15 March with lunch

Thursday 16 March with lunch

Prices (per person)

Single Room



Double/Twin Room







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You can also click here to download the brochure


The conference is fully booked and the waiting list is now closed.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations received on or after Monday 6th February 2023 will be charged the full fee.

Further Information
For queries, please email


Six conference sessions – the five main sessions and the Bible Reading – will be available to watch live, or on catch-up until Sunday 26th March.

The livestream costs £50. To register and pay, click the button below.

Download the Livestream schedule.