Creating Caring Congregations, is a project of Mental Health Ministries, an ecumenical program through the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The mission of Mental Health Ministries is to educate clergy and lay persons for the purpose of decreasing the stigma associated with mental illnesses in our faith communities. Providing resources to churches to develop a mental health program in the local church is the important first step in the inclusion and support of persons with mental illnesses and their families into the life of the church community. The sharing of personal stories and experiences provides a way to give voice to those who have suffered in silence, and allows churches to begin the process of reaching out and providing compassionate care to those affected by disorders of the brain.
This DVD is divided into four sections. With a total running time of under 30 minutes, it can be viewed in one sitting. Another option is to view the various sections separately to provide education and encourage discussion among specific groups in the church. A Discussion Guide is included that provides a brief overview of each segment and some questions to help generate discussion among group members.
Individuals share their personal experiences with various mental illnesses in the first three sections. Shawn's Story tells of an adolescent's experience with bi-polar depression, addiction and suicidal ideations. Carol's Story is about the most common illness of the brain, clinical depression, with accompanying anxiety issues. Jan's Story highlights how the normal life changes associated with the aging process can lead to depression in older adults. The final segment, How Congregations Can Respond, provides a five-step program of education, covenant, welcome support and advocacy, to help churches begin to address mental health issues in the local church.
Creating Caring Congregations has been awarded in the 24th Annual Telly Awards for its high standard of excellence in the Religious program category. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.