Mental Health Ministries

Models of Ministry – What Congregations are Doing

NAMI Developing Ministries - San Antonio, Texas

NAMI Developing Ministries

Participants listen to Dr. Octavio Martinez's presentation on a multicultural approach to psychiatry.

The Faith-based Mental Health Ministry Initiative of Bexar County/San Antonio, Texas, developed a one-day training with an eye toward strengthening the safety net for people with mental illness and their families.

The Focus:

1. To ease emotional pain and trauma.
2. Provide education on mental illness
3. Sprout faith-based family and peer-to-peer support
4. Train clergy on counseling those affected by mental illness and speaking from the pulpit.
5. Train lay minister to facilitate support Groups, make referrals and advocate.

Alamo Heights United Methodist Church began a support group immediately after the full day of training April 8. St. Stephen Catholic Church began its group in August. Work with at least four more churches is under way.

Direct assistance includes: mentoring facilitators of support groups, guiding lay ministers on providing self-advocacy or stepping in when service systems fail, linking up lay ministers to administrators of agencies and programs for direct intervention, and providing educational ministers and speaker lists and educational materials.

Advocacy achieved includes:

  • Obtained a psychiatric appointment and services for a woman turned away by public mental health workerbecause of lack of insurance coverage.
  • Successfully counseled a woman frequently crying and showing other depression symptoms to seek treatment.
  • Helped get a family member into a jail diversion mental health program after he beat up his brother-in-law and broke his elbow. The man would be homeless because his sister and brother-in-law decided he could no longer live with them.
  • Helped a young man get into Telecare, a program for people unable to live independently. The young man had been homeless, in and out of shelters, in and out of hospitals and at one time in his mind attempting suicide by hospital security guard.

Yolanda Alvarado, Chair
Faith-based Mental Health Ministry