Mental Health Ministries

MHM e-Spotlight - Spring 2011

Are You Ready? May is Mental Health Month


Mental Health Month was created more than 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all by Mental Health America. There are now designated times in May for groups to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in research, prevention and treatment on specific mental health issues. The first week in May, for example, has been designated as Children’s Mental Health Week. But the specific times are not as important as educating about all mental illnesses any time of the year.

Mental Health Ministries is featuring several downloadable resources that may be helpful in your planning. 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 also be used as a bulletin insert or handout. Also available in Spanish.

Children’s Mental Health Week is a bulletin insert using the green ribbon symbol


Mental Illness and College StudentsIn the aftermath of the tragic assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, there’s been a great deal of discussion about why alleged shooter Jared Loughner never received any mental health services despite previous concerns over his behavior. In an effort to raise awareness on the increasing number of students having mental health challenges on our college campuses, Mental Health Ministries has a new brochure, Mental Illness and College Students. This resource is available as a free download on the Home page or in the Resource section on the Mental Health Ministries website.


Faith Connections on Mental Illness is sponsoring Mental Illness as a Spiritual Journey on Friday April 1, 2011 in Chapel Hill, NC. I started helping a very dedicated planning committee last fall plan the conference…then I ended up being their keynote speaker!

There is still time to register for this conference at For Registration Credit Questions Call: Jacqueline Carter at 919-350-0461


The 2011 NAMI national convention will be held in Chicago on July 6-9. The theme for this year’s conference is Building Better Lives. More information and registration forms are available at or call Ruby Brown-Herring at 919-350-0488.


Several of us on the NAMI FaithNet Advisory Committee have been working on a four-part training curriculum for self or small group study in NAMI affiliates or religious groups…Reaching Out to Faith Communities. The free training curriculum and its four units include 1) Laying a Foundation, 2) Opening the Door to Conversations about Mental Illness, 3) Sharing Your Story, and 4) Looking Ahead and Following Up. These may be used separately or as a whole. Reaching out to Faith Communities will be available in both power point and PDF formats.

We will be presenting an overview of these training modules at a workshop at the NAMI national convention in Chicago. The workshop, Reaching Out to Faith Communities: A Training Course for NAMI Members, is scheduled for Friday, July 8, from 3:30 pm-4:45 pm. There will be a networking session for NAMI FaithNet on Thursday, July 7, 3:45pm – 5:15pm.

Watch for announcement on the availability of these training modules and webinars on the NAMI FaithNet micro-site at


"Developing the capacity of congregations to support recovery and wellness"

Three new training modules have been developed through the St. Louis Training Cooperative Project through Pathways to Promise. They are available on the Pathways to Promise website,

Downloadable Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for three brief basic trainings:

Mental Health 101: Mental Health Ministry
Organizing a Mental Health Team in Your Congregation
Companionship: A Ministry of Presence

You may download the above presentations for your own use.
You will also find below the presenter's guides (Microsoft Word format) for each course.

Presenter's Guide for Mental Health 101
Presenter's Guide for Organizing a Mental Health Team
Presenter's Guide for Companionship


Pathways to Promise Summit held in St. Louis, MI, in October of 2009. The Pathways to Promise Mental Health Training Cooperative Initiative pilot program grew out of that summit. Rev. Craig Rennebohm was instrumental in helping to develop this pilot project and training resources.

Doug Ronsheim, LMFTT, D.Min. Executive Director of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), is now serving as the Project Coordinator for the Mental Health Training Cooperative Initiative for the next year. Rev. Craig Rennebohm is coordinating a regional effort in Washington State as Doug Ronsheim provides advice and assistance to the St. Louis. This is exciting because it represents a new direction for AAPC as this national organization lives out its mission by modeling collaborative efforts with regional groups to develop mental health collaborative efforts that include faith communities to serve persons in their neighborhood.

The following is an excerpt from Doug’s report in the AAPC newsletter that outlines a collaborative model of ministry that can be adapted in other regions of the country.

Our community networks of care and services, from hospital emergency rooms, to congregations/faith communities are reporting an increase in the number of mentally ill people who end up on their doorsteps after failing to get help elsewhere.

Individuals in such situations contact a community faith leader for care more frequently (24%) than any other professional group. But only 8% are referred to the appropriate level of service. To increase the capacity of faith leaders to respond appropriately to such situations, AAPC is a partner in the development of the Mental Health Training Cooperative (MHTC). Pilot projects, involving AAPC members, have emerged in St. Louis, MO and Washington State.

A MHTC is a practical, community wide effort to educate and organize appropriate, proactive mental health care, neighborhood by neighborhood. The basic goal of an MHTC is to mobilize faith groups to collaborate with one another and community allies at the grassroots level in providing care and support, especially for the most isolated and vulnerable of our neighbors.

A MHTC covers a city, county or region. Guiding a local Mental Health Training Cooperative is a planning group made up of representatives from key and diverse stakeholders – faith groups, consumers and families, community mental health providers and advocates, the public sector and community allies. A local MHTC planning group helps organize neighborhood clusters of learning and care and develop an annual curriculum of continuing education.


Setting healthy boundaries can be challenging. Congregations that are able to set healthy boundaries are able to welcome people with mental illness or other disabilities without fearing that needy people will overwhelm their caring capacities.

For helpful information on cultivating compassionate respect, setting boundaries, and responding thoughtfully to foster inclusion and discover the gifts in people we might have labeled "difficult," visit the Anabaptist Disability Network (AdNet) website at


Rev. Barbara Meyers, a Unitarian Universalist minister, has writing a faith response to the tragic events at Tucson with links to other resources and sites…including Mental Health Ministries. You can reach Barbara at


Mental Illness and Families of Faith Study GuideThe resource/study guide, Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond, is available in English and Spanish. It can also be used as a four week study and is available as a free, downloadable resource on the Mental Health Ministries Home page.

Mental Illness and Families of Faith DVDThere are also a number of DVD’s available for use in a class or small group. Each video resource includes a study guide. Short clips from most shows can be viewed on You Tube by clicking on the video links. Eight shows are available on the two DVD set, Mental Illness and Families of Faith.


Social MediaThe Power of Social Media - Going Viral!
More than 1000 persons gathered in San Diego for the 23rd annual All People’s Breakfast to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. The focus of the morning was Media and the Movement. We have tools and technologies that were unimaginable 50 years ago. I can imagine Dr. King texting, blogging or tweeting, “I have a dream.” His message would have gone out instantly to 250 million people connected by our new digital media.

Social media is the way millions of people communicate. We’ve seen how social media was a galvanizing force for protestors in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. This new reality of being a “hyper-connected world” offers tremendous opportunities to give a face and a voice to persons that have been marginalized and disenfranchised. It also presents us with challenges and perils. Today’s technology can be used to spread lies and misinformation that promote stigma, prejudice and fear…or it can be used to educate and promote respect and understanding of people we do not know much about.

I believe in the power of personal witness and the human connection. But the potential to use social media to effect social change is undeniable. I remember my visit to the media room at the NAMI national convention last year summer. Tech savvy interns were communicating instantly with people at the convention and across the nation through digital tweets, texts, blogs, video and the spoken word.

And so…Mental Health Ministries has gone viral! With the help of my web person, Mental Health Ministries in now on Facebook! This is a learning curve for me, but I will be doing “postings” of information and resources related to spirituality and mental illness. I hope you will “Like” this new site and become a “Friend” of Mental Health Ministries.

There are many ways to share our stories and fight the stigma and misinformation surrounding mental illness. We can make a difference if we stand together to speak out for persons living with a mental illness. A video produced by Project Change was played at the Martin Luther King breakfast. The producers heard a homeless man on the streets playing his version of the familiar song, Stand By Me. Project Change found people from all over the world to add their “voice” to make this video a powerful statement of inclusivity and unity to show that when we work together, we can make a difference in this world.

May this spring be a time of planting seeds of hope.


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