May is Mental Health Month. This is an opportunity to educate about mental illness in faith communities and partner with community groups to plan a special event.
We are featuring several resources on our Home page to help you out. Many of our downloadable print resources are available in Spanish.
Mental Illness and Families of Faith: Creating Caring Congregations - This is an updated version of our very popular resource on caring congregations. There are many ways that congregations can begin or expand a ministry to and with persons with a mental illness and their families. The caring congregations model uses a five step approach. These five steps include education, commitment, welcome, support and advocacy. The brochure is also available in Spanish.
Creating Caring Congregations is our most popular DVD resource. It is divided into four major sections with an introduction. A Discussion Guide provides a brief overview of each segment and provides questions to help generate discussion among group members. This DVD and other video resources, including Mental Illness and Families of Faith, are available on the Mental Health Ministries website.
Overview: Individuals share their personal experiences with various mental illnesses in three of the segments. 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.
May is Mental Health Month can be used as a bulletin insert or flyer. Also available in Spanish.
Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents can also be used as a bulletin insert or handout. Also available in Spanish.
Guidelines for Organizing a Successful Conference gives tips on organizing a conference, seminar or workshop. (PDF, English / PDF, Spanish)
Mental Health Ministries has been awarded a Bronze Telly Award for our DVD, Breaking the Silence: Postpartum Depression and Families of Faith. Since 1978, Telly's mission as been to strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting and supporting creativity. The 28 th Annual Telly Awards received over 14,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents.
The NAMI National Convention will be held in Orlando, Florida, June 13-16. FaithNet NAMI will be sponsoring a Special Interest Workshop on Saturday, June 14 from 9:00-12:00 noon. I will be presenting a workshop on "Mental Illness and Families of Faith: Creating Caring Congregations" on Sunday, June 15 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Rev. Craig Rennebohm will share about his ministry on the streets of Seattle who are struggling with mental illness. He will have copies of his new book, Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, or you can order a copy online at www.tendergod.com. Dr. Gunnar Christiansen will be the moderator.
You can subscribe to their e-newsletter at www.faithnet.nami.org . I encourage you to register to receive their e-mail updates and to visit the site to see what our faith communities are doing.
Mennonite Media has two new DVD resources available for purchase. Finding Hope in Recovery: Families Living with Addiction is the fourth in a series of programs on societal issues that create stigma. Others in the series include, Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide, Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness and Embracing Aging: Families Facing Change. My husband and I were interviewed for Shadow Voices. These DVDs sell for $24.95 or $19.95 for VHS. To order any of these resources, visit www.store.mennomedia.org.
Mennonite Media has also produced twelve 30 public service radio spots. All of the interviews come from the DVD, Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness. One of the spots features former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. But most are the ordinary voices of individuals and family members. My husband I were among those interviewed for this documentary and my husband, Stan, is one of the voices on these spots. These radio spots are available for downloads from www.thirdway.com/rad. A full website of helpful resources to accompany the Shadow Voices documentary is available at www.shadowvoices.com.
The Inspiration pages on our website have devotions, prayers and quotations to offer comfort and hope to persons living with a mental illness, their families and friends. We also have a downloadable brochure, Comfort from the Scriptures for Persons with Mental Illness. (Scriptures brochure also available in Spanish.)
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
~ Maya Angelou
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119