Education about mental illness is even more important in light of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. It is not as important to analyze whether or not Mr. Cho had a mental illness and what actions should have been taken. Rather our thoughts and prayers are with ALL persons touched by traumatic events and ALL persons dealing with any form of brain disorder.
Events like this can give people the false impression that persons with a mental illness are more like to commit violent acts. But according to the U.S. Surgeon General, the likelihood of violence by people with mental illness is low. In fact, persons with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence. Education is needed to learn the symptoms and warning signs of serious mental illness in order to seek appropriate referral and follow up. Our faith communities CAN be an important source of hope and support.
May is Mental Health Month and provides an opportunity for you to educate about brain disorders in your setting. Some thoughts, reflections and prayers related to the Virginia Tech incident are available on the Pathways to Promise website, www.Pathways2Promise.org . Click on "Thoughts about Virginia Tech."
Mental Health Ministries also has the resources to help you!
We have two resources that can be used as bulletin inserts or flyers. They are May is Mental Health Month and Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents. Both are available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded from the Mental Health Ministries Home Page.
Short preview clips available on website.
This resource 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.
Run time of resource: 29:15 minutes
This DVD resource sells for $24.95, and VHS sells for $20. Charge cards accepted.
This resource is divided into two sections that tell the stories of how two families are coping with mental illness in the family. The first story is about a Jewish family and how they have dealt with their daughter's bi-polar illness. The onset of many mental illnesses is often when someone is an older teen or in their twenties. The second story features a couple from the Christian tradition. One spouse struggles with bi-polar illness and the other struggles with depression triggered by difficult life circumstances. The response of the faith community around the initial episode of mental illness will influence the family's ability to turn to that community for support in the future.
The stories in this video can be viewed separately or the video can be viewed in its entirety. A Discussion Guide is included with questions to help generate discussion. The video concludes with helpful information on how faith communities can be supportive of persons with a mental illness and their families.
Run Time of Resource: 21:10 minutes
VHS sells for $20. Charge cards accepted on the website.
We hope you find these resources helpful and encourage you to visit the Mental Health Ministries website, www.MentalHealthMinistries.net, for many other resources.
And I hope to see many of you at the NAMI national convention to be held in San Diego, June 21-24. Click here to register for the convention .
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119