Summer is upon us…a time to recharge, refresh and renew our spirits. It is a time to take Sabbath time and enjoy those things that nourish our souls. I look forward to working in my garden and love my roses that bloom into the fall. There is nothing like picking a sweet tomato from my garden box to make a salad or add to a barbequed hamburger. I look forward to a family reunion and playing with the grandchildren. Taking time to watch a sunset or walk in the woods ground me and help me to just “be” in the presence of the holy.
I also enjoy photography. The Inspiration Section on the Mental Health Ministries website gives me an outlet to share some of those photos. I hope the Devotions, Prayers and Meditations will nurture your spiritual life throughout the year.
Our theme song based on Gloria Estefan’s Coming Out of the Dark is on the Home page as a reminder of light, hope and new life. Twelve video clips on a variety of topics are available in the Resources section of the website and on You Tube. Nine of these clips are available on the Mental Health Mission Moments DVD described below.
Interfaith Intro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OejDMSVDPS0
Coming Out of the Dark Intro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w0602fuNto
Teenage Depression and Suicide http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDImUMPGV5U
Overcoming Stigma Finding Hope http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVhnL0rp1jY
Understanding Depression http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz5szf6uRyY
Addiction and Depression http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXpM6BdagjM
Creating Caring Congregations http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMbj5K2Du4s
Mental Illness and Families of Faith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vwvHB9deXU
Jewish Families of Faith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js0MbIknaRc
Out of the Ashes: Transforming Trauma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cngubLeFfBU
Mental Illness and Older Adults http://youtu.be/pccmWjdLNSY
Gifts of the Shadow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3E5jh1VvoY
Mental Health Mission Moments is an ecumenical resource that includes nine short video clips from our longer shows. These 2-3 minute DVD segments can also be used in worship or with small groups or classes to generate discussion. Each segment presents an issue related to the experiences of mental health, puts a face to the issue, and ends with a message of hope. The accompanying Resource Guide includes sermon starters, liturgical material, additional scriptural references and other resources to help educate congregations about mental illness.
The Resource Guide is a starting point. You are encouraged to use parts of this material, rearrange it, adapt it to your setting or write your own. One sermon starter is given for each segment, but other scripture references may also be used. Where applicable, texts from the Common Lectionary are noted.
You can purchase this DVD on the Mental Health Ministries website for $14.95, http://www.mentalhealthministries.net/links_resources/dvds/mission_moments.html
In the mental health field we have moved toward an emphasis on recovery. There are a number of definitions of recovery. I understand it as an ongoing process. I like the definition of recovery written by the Telecare Corporation, http://www.telecarecorp.com, a provider of adult mental health services that has a variety of programs to help persons set personal goals and provide support in moving towards those goals and recovery. Their definition of recovery says, “Recovery is the awakening of hopes and dreams. The recovery process involves gaining the knowledge to reclaim one’s power and achieve one’s desires by learning to make choices that bring strength rather than harm. Recovery involves living a meaningful life with the capacity to love and be loved.”
Summer is a good time to reflect on our journey. I recommend The Gentle Bible developed by the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle with the help of patients on their county hospital mental health units. It is a set of 365 readings adapted from the Jerusalem, RSV and New English versions of the Bible, and designed to offer brief encouragements each day for recovery and wellness. It is important to approach faith resources and scriptures with sensitivity and care, particularly when someone is confused, depressed, or delusional: hence the Gentle Bible, a booklet of selected readings adapted from the Bible, one for each day of the year, that encourage healing and community. Each month’s readings have a common theme: Hope, Companionship, Community, Comfort, Healing, Wellness, Teachings of Jesus, God’s Care, Wisdom, Wholeness, Psalms, and the Assurance of God’s love. The readings for May are printed below.
The Gentle Bible can be found on the Mental Health Chaplain website at www.mentalhealthchaplain.org or click here to download this resource. There are other articles and resources on this website including Chaplain Craig Rennebohm’s book, Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, co-authored with David Paul. It is a useful resource for all who want to learn more about homelessness, mental illness, and how we can take action to address these glaring social problems.
The STAR Center is offering a downloadable resource, Multicultural Competence, Intense Spiritual Experience, and Mental Health Tool & Full Length Report, written by Rev. Laura L. Mancuso, M.S., C.R.C. This resource addresses how individuals/peers/consumers and providers can effectively integrate multicultural competence, intense spiritual experiences and recovery principles and practices with self-help care, peer support activities, and provider program and services. The tool and full length report can be downloaded for FREE at www.consumerstar.org website. The report is available as a free downloadable resource at A Report from the NAMI STAR Center’s Workshop on Multicultural Competence, Intense Spiritual Experiences and Mental Health
As a magna-cum-laude Harvard grad, tenured professor, in-demand preacher, and author of popular as well as academic books and blogs, Monica A. Coleman is what most people would call “a success.” Behind her impressive achievements, however, is a story that many of her friends and colleagues knew nothing about—her ongoing struggle with severe depression.
In Not Alone, she opens up her life to offer the hard-won wisdom that she’s obtained as she’s wrestled with God and depression. While avoiding easy answers, she shares the struggles she has faced, in order to give hope to those who deal with similar challenges, so that they will be better equipped to explore and reflect on their own experiences and faith. Above all, she writes to let them know that they are not alone.
Not Alone is a 40-day devotional wrestling with some of the tough issues around faith and depression. Weaving together theological reflection, medical research and personal experiences, Not Alone offers readers and opportunity to explore and reflect on their own understandings. Find more information at Coleman’s website:
Fortress Press recently announced the release of Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families. Psychiatrists and pastoral theologians come together in an interdisciplinary, collaborative effort to ensure accuracy of information concerning the medical dimensions of mental illness, interpret these illnesses from a faith perspective, and make suggestions relative to effective ministry. Readers will learn how science and a faith tradition can not only co-exist but work in tandem to alleviate the pain of the afflicted and affected. It can be purchased on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ministry-Persons-Mental-Illness-Families/dp/0800698746
Pamela Olson, Cedar Rapids, IA, is a former school counselor and ELCA Lutheran with an interest in ministry to and with people living with a mental illness. Out of a love of words and photography, she has developed an inspirational photo book, Into the Wind: Meditations on Mindfulness, Faith, and Depression, focusing on cognitive behavioral and mindfulness concepts to aid in coping with major depression, in conjunction with faith in God. Each page features photographs related to a certain symptom and related skills; prayers and scripture are intermingled. Into the Wind is available for purchase as a Nook (Barnes and Noble) e-book at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/into-the-wind-pamela-olson/1029391007 or as a Kindle e- book at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0081UAEGG. Free software downloads are also available at each site to enable reading e-books on a computer screen or iPad.
The Archbishop of Canterbury demonstrated his support for Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma campaign by signing an anti-discrimination pledge in support of the anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change. Dr. Rowan Williams said, “It is time we…started to talk more openly about the issue as a way of breaking down stigma and misunderstanding, and building more empathy and support for recovery.”
At the pledge signing ceremony, over 40 representatives from churches across the country were also asked to pledge their support to Time to Change and show their commitment to promoting a better understanding of mental health problems, while offering support and welfare advice to their staff and congregations. Story available at:
We want to hear from YOU! Without the religious holidays, summer is a time to try new ways to educate about mental illness. To share what is happening in your congregation, faith group or community to erase the stigma of mental illness and provide caring and compassionate support for persons affected by mental illness, contact Mental Health Ministries through the website or send your ideas by contacting Susan. We will include it in the It Worked For Us section under Models of Ministry.
The NAMI national convention will be held in Seattle, WA, Wednesday, June 27-Saturday, June 30, 2012. The theme is Think Learn Live: Wellness, Resiliency and Recovery. There will be several offerings on spirituality and mental illness. One session will focus on finding out what other NAMI Affiliates and NAMI members are doing to create supportive congregations for people affected by mental illness. Some of these ideas will be featured on the NAMI FaithNet microsite. You can sign up to receive the newsletter, access the NAMI FaithNet training modules and the many other resources at http://www.nami.org/faithnet
The resource/study guide, Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond, is available in English and Spanish. It is available as a free, downloadable resource on the Mental Health Ministries Home page.
You are invited to visit Mental Health Ministries on Facebook. I hope you will “Like” our new site.
Mental Health Ministries in now on Facebook.
Loaves and Fishes
I recently heard a sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes; senior pastor of The Potter’s House and ranked among the 25 Most Influential African Americans. Bishop Jakes shared an interpretation of the familiar story of how Jesus fed five thousand after a young boy offers five loaves of bread and two fishes.
The first thing Jesus did was to BLESS that which was not enough. Until we can be thankful when something is not enough, than what we do have cannot be multiplied into that which is more than enough. Jesus only had five loaves of bread and two fishes when he blessed them. When he BROKE the bread is when we lose count of the bounty. The blessing is in the breaking. Bishop Jakes said that what refuses to be broken refuses to be blessed.
It is the breaking of life that produces the blessing of life. I thought a lot about his comment that the most blessed people are those who have gone through something that broke them. All of us, no matter what are faith traditions, have been broken at some time in our lives. Many of us can look back and know that God was with us in our darkness and that the blessings of life multiplied in so many ways.
This summer I hope you will take time to give thanks for the blessings all around you.
Take time to claim your strength;
they are gifts of God.
Take time to have fun;
it’s God’s way of teaching you your strengths.
Take time to grow yourself;
only you can grow you.
Take time to trust yourself;
God trusts you.
Take time to share with others;
they will bless you, and you will bless them.
Take time to have hope,
you are a child of God.
~ A blessing adapted by Catholic Door
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119