Mental Health Ministries

MHM Spotlight - September 2005

If you would like to download this update to spread the MHM news, please click here (Word Document)


The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. This Mental Health Ministries Update will highlight resources we hope you will find helpful during this week and in all future efforts to work against the stigma and shame still associated with these no-fault illness of the brain.

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding is the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week. This year that date is October 4. There is a downloadable flyer on the "Free Resources, Links and Grants" page on our website, This 2-sided flyer includes liturgies, prayers and a candle lighting service that can be adapted for a variety of uses. Resources to help clergy in worship planning are also available on the United Methodist Discipleship Resources website at .

October 6 is the15 th Annual National Depression Screening Day (NDSD). NDSD sites across the country will be offering screening for both mood and anxiety disorders. For more information and to find screening sites in your area visit the NDSD website at .
Leveling the Playing Field:
Eliminating the Unintended Consequences of Mental Illness

October 2-8, 2005
Every year across the country mental health advocates celebrate Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) the first week of October.

What is Mental Illness Awareness Week?

Mental Illness Awareness Week activities will be held from October 2-8, 2005. During this week, millions of Americans will be honoring the challenges encountered by mental illness as well as celebrating the recoveries they or their loved ones have embraced. This year's theme, Leveling the Playing Field , reflects the hope and real possibility of reclaimed lives in all communities across the country and encapsulates the true spirit and essence of NAMI while reflecting all forms of difference.

What is Bipolar Awareness Day?

Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day's primary role is to raise awareness to consumers, family members, and friends, either living with or yet to be diagnosed, on what the illness is and how to seek treatment and recovery, thus improving lives. This year, Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day will be acknowledged on Thursday, October 6.

For information on either MIAW or BDAD, visit .


December 4, 2005 is the date for the ABC-TV documentary, S hadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness. This is a documentary challenging society to rethink the stigma that continues to surround persons with mental illness. The program enters into the daily lives of persons living with mental illness by following them closely as they deal with their illness and their life. Mental illness causes the most disability among all illnesses, and the stigma and stereotyping that still surrounds mental illness makes it even harder to cope. Experts in the field of mental health, clergy, and family members from a variety of perspectives explore how the community can do a better job of helping to create a truly healing and hopeful environment. Now that good medications and therapy are available, the focus in the mental health community is on recovery -- helping persons find ways to get jobs, go back to school, re-establish family relationships that enable them to live long term with serious mental illness. Produced by Mennonite Media for the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and National Council of Churches. (Check for local listings)

My husband, Stan, and I were among the many people interviewed for this documentary. The film crew came to San Diego in May but also interviewed persons in many other areas of the country. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter was interviewed in Atlanta, Georgia and former Surgeon General, Dr. David Thatcher, was interviewed in South Carolina. The film crew from Mennonite Media also traveled to the NAMI National Convention in Austin, Texas, Boston University, Iowa, Cincinnati, Florida Southern College, Harrisonburg, VA, and Pennsylvania. Program preview notes are available on the website .


One of our most popular educational resources is the VHS video, Creating Caring Congregations . This resource includes the story of a suicidal teen, an adult with anxiety and depression, an older adult and the presentation of a five step program for developing caring congregations. The generosity of the Beltsville Lions Club and the Washington-Baltimore Annual Conference has enabled MHM to produce this popular resource with close-captioning. You can request the close-captioned VHS resource for the same price of $20. All of our resources include a discussion guide with background information.

Creating Caring Congregations will be available later this fall as a DVD with an expanded discussion guide. We try to keep the cost of our resources as low as possible. The cost of this DVD will be $24.95.


Mental Health Ministries received a small grant to provide a packet of information on postpartum depression and emotional issues related to pregnancy and childbirth to give to churches in San Diego. We have written a brochure that clergy can give to families in their congregations with new babies. This brochure gives information on the postpartum depression as well as giving ideas of how the church can be helpful and supportive of these new families during a time of change and stress. It is available on our website.

We continue to seek sponsors to produce a short resource on postpartum issues for use in faith communities with our partnering production company, Pacific Media Ministry. Donations by individuals or groups of $500 or more will be included in the credits for this new media resource. We cannot produce this resource without the help of those who have been affected by PPD.

On a side note, there is a picture of my new (and first) grandson on the Poems/Prayers page of our website!! Baby and mother are doing well.


Mental Health Ministries might be adapted to another locale.

I encourage you to visit our website at for resources to raise awareness of mental health issues. This Mental Health Ministries Update and previous archived Updates are now available on the website.

Grace and peace,

Susan Gregg-Schroeder