Mental Health Ministries

MHM e-Spotlight - Spring 2009



We are dealing with tough economic times. One recent poll reported that nearly 60% of respondents said the current economic situation is a cause of stress in their lives.

It is a harsh reality that at a time when greater numbers of people need the resources of their mental health community, budgets for these services have been cut due to the economic crisis. Many congregations also face budget cuts that can affect their ability to provide support and services.

But we are all in this together and there are steps we can take to care for ourselves, keep perspective, and cherish all that’s good in our life. Mental Health America offers ten tools as a guide to good mental health-even in the face of life’s challenges.

A new bulletin insert, Mental Health in Challenging Times, outlines these steps and is available on our Home page.

Note: Bulletin inserts are meant to be printed on both sides of 8 ½ by 11 inch paper and cut in half. They can be used in worship bulletins or as flyers or handouts.

We are also featuring several downloadable resources. Many of our free print resources are available in Spanish.

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 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. (HTML | PDF, English | PDF, Spanish)

Children's Mental Health Week is a bulletin insert using the green ribon symbol.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a new report, Grading the States, assessing the nation's public mental health care system for adults and finding that the national average grade is a D. "Mental health care in America is in crisis," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out." View this report at


Mental Illness and Families of FaithWe are very excited about our new two DVD set to help educate faith communities about various mental health issues. The shows on the set, Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond, are “user-friendly” and short enough to be used in a variety of settings including classes and small groups. Each segment has a discussion guide with background information, questions for discussion and where to find additional resources.

These eight shows cover a variety of mental health issues. Professionals provide important information about each illness. But mostly you will hear from real people who live with these brain disorders. Each segment presents an issue related to the experience of mental illness, puts a face to the issue and offers a message of hope.


Disc 1
Coming Out of the Dark (Interfaith Introduction, (Length: 53 seconds)
Mental Illness in Different Age Groups (Length: 17:39 minutes)
Mental Illness and Families of Faith (Length: 20:50 minutes)
Understanding Depression (Length: 16:31 minutes)
Overcoming Stigma: Finding Hope (Length: 13:13 minutes)

Disc 2
Addiction and Depression (Length: 16:42 minutes)
Anxiety: Overcoming the Fear (Length: 18:49 minutes)
Teenage Depression and Suicide (Length: 14:39 minutes)
Eating Disorders: Wasting Away (Length: 12:58 minutes)
Creating Caring Congregations (Length: 10:39 minutes)

This 2 DVD set is closed captioned.

The price is $49.95 with $6.00 shipping. It can be ordered on our website or you can write a check to Mental Health Ministries and send it to the address below.

Short clips from many of our shows can be viewed on our website by going to the VHS Resource section and clicking on the various topics offered.


We are phasing out our VHS resources in preparation for an exciting new resource for 2009! All VHS resources have been marked down to $10 while supplies last. Ordering on line will reflect the sale price.

The price on our three DVDs, Creating Caring Congregations, Mental Health Mission Moments and Breaking the Silence: Postpartum Depression and Families of Faith, has been reduced to $19.95.

For quantity orders of any of our DVD or VHS resources, contact Susan for a reduced rate.


The NAMI National Convention will be held in San Francisco, July 6-9. The theme for this year’s conference is “Creating a Healthy Future For Us All.”

NAMI FaithNet will be sponsoring a Special Interest Workshop. I am honored to be part of the FaithNet Advisory Committee, and we will be sharing the exciting ways that FaithNet has emerged as a popular website link for persons interesting in including the faith dimension when dealing with a mental illness. We will share printed resources useful to NAMI members and affiliates seeking to educate local faith communities about mental illness.

There will also be a workshop, “Hard Questions On Faith and Mental Illness: A Multi-faith Panel Responds.” A mental illness often results in persons of faith asking the difficult questions of where God is when we are suffering. I will be part of a panel of from different faith traditions and we will respond to the “hard questions” about faith and mental illness. This workshop will be presented from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8.

You can subscribe to their e-newsletter at I encourage you to register to receive FaithNet e-mail updates and to visit the site for information and resources on ways to educate about mental illness in our faith communities. Registration information for the July conference is available at New NAMI FaithNet brochures are available in the NAMI store. 50 brochures cost $6.


When clergy refer members of their congregations to social workers and psychologists, they typically turn to people who share their religious values, but this approach may not provide people with the care they need according to Glen Milstein, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the City College of New York (CCNY). According to Dr. Milstein, “Most Americans are religious, but most mental health professions are unaffiliated with religious congregations. Therefore, seeking help only from professionals with shared religious values may exclude congregants from needed professional expertise.”

For the past decade, Dr. Milstein has led a multidisciplinary team of researchers in developing a new multidisciplinary, multifaith, and research-focused model for relationships between clergy and clinicians that is religion-inclusive rather than faith based. Known as C.O.P.E. (Clergy Outreach and Professional Engagement), the approach is designed to reduce burdens on both professions.

The key to the C.O.P.E. model is the recognition that mental illness is a chronic disease; sometimes one can function and other times not. Milstein says, “Clinicians and clergy perform distinct, complementary functions in treating these syndromes. While clinicians provide professional treatment to relieve individuals of their pain and suffering and move them from dysfunction to their highest level of function, clergy and religious communities provide a sense of context, support, and community before, during, and after treatment.”

The program aims to improve care of individuals by facilitating reciprocal collaboration between clinicians and members of the clergy, regardless of either’s religious affiliation. Working from the National Institute of Mental Health’s four prevention categories, Dr. Milstein and his team developed two handouts, one for mental health professionals and the other for clergy, available at:


Popcorn TreePopcorn Trees
A friend shared the story of how she was sitting on the ocean cliffs one day and sharing a bag of popcorn with her friend. As the two sat talking, my friend picked up some nearby twigs and began to put the plump pieces of popcorn on the ends of the twigs. Soon there was a forest of little popcorn trees on the ground in front of them.

Noticing the many birds nearby, they decided to move back from the popcorn forest and let the birds come and feast on the little trees. And so they moved further up the cliffs and the birds came.

But much to their amazement, the birds, with beaks to the ground, rummaged around for the small bits of popcorn that had broken off as the larger kernels were placed on the twigs. The birds never looked up at the forest of popcorn within easy reach, right above their heads. They missed the feast that had been so carefully made available to them.

How often do we, in our blindness, our ignorance or our need for control, fail to see the feast of opportunities made available to us? How often do we overlook the bread for the journey continually offered to us?

Wishing you a Spring of new beginnings,


Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119