We are really pleased to announce the appointment of GMMH's first rabbi. Rabbi Dr. Chanan Tomlin MBE. who will support service users across the Trust with their religious and spiritual needs as well as providing pastoral support.
"I'm here for the Trust's service users. I want to make sure there are no service users slipping through the net and reach all Jewish patients whether they are religious or not, to make sure I'm able to support them."
Rabbi Dr. Tomlin has a significant amount of experience in mental health, which he is bringing to his role as GMMH's Jewish Chaplain. He has trained as an addiction counsellor and was an active member of the Chabad Drugsline when he was living in London. He now runs a successful psychotherapeutic practice in Salford.
"I want staff to know what the expectations of our Jewish service users are and to raise awareness of the specific cultural requirements of the members of the Jewish community in our services, such as; Jewish holidays and festivals, dietary needs and different rituals that take place at different times in the year. It's really important that staff know how to support Jewish service users, so they can find comfort from their faith and I'm here to offer advice and guidance."
Rabbi Tomlin has a special interest in helping teens in crisis. The former chairman of Talking Matters, a strictly Orthodox counselling service in Stamford Hill, he now runs a counselling charity in Manchester, Kids Trust, for children in crisis, dealing with issues of drug abuse, family breakdown and mental health problems.
"As a former head teacher and father to a large family I know how important it is to support children and young people with their mental wellbeing. 75% of adults experience mental health problems before the age of 18*, so it's really crucial that young people with mental health needs are identified and get the best care and support possible. This is particularly important for vulnerable young people who might not access the services currently available."
The Salford-based rabbi was born in Israel and grew up in Toronto, Canada. He studied in the rabbinical colleges of Telshe and Bobov. He acquired his Masters from the University of London and PhD from the University of Southampton. He holds a Certificate in Counselling & Psychotherapy from Regents College, London. In addition, he has a Diploma and an Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapy.
"My culture respects learning. I qualified as a rabbi at a rabbinical college and became a teacher but, as time went by, I wanted new academic challenges. When my family and I moved to England, I investigated what I could do and I studied for a PhD. Studying for my PhD was probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I'm probably one of the few Hassidic Jews in this country to have such a qualification."
Rabbi Tomlin works at GMMH once week (Tuesdays) and can be consulted on any matters which need rabbinical advice or support. He is also available for advising staff on cultural and religious issues for Jewish families.