Mental Health Month was created 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 has several downloadable resources that may be helpful in your planning. Many of our free print resources are available in Spanish.
The first week of May focuses on children and youth. Children’s Mental Health Week is a bulletin insert/flyer using the green ribbon symbol.
May is a great time to collaborate with other faith communities, mental health professionals and resources in your community to plan a conference. I encourage you to visit the Models of Ministry section on the Mental Health Ministries website. You will find a summary of the five step Caring Congregations model, Organizing a Successful Conference, ideas submitted in It Worked For Us and a section on Faith Group Resources that provides links to many resources from different faith traditions and other groups working in the area of faith and mental illness.
Mental Health America of the Heartland has developed resources for Sabbaths of Hope to help faith communities responding to depression. It is an initiative that aims to:
Faith community participants receive training and resources to enable them to conduct educational events for congregants and colleagues. All of this culminates in a congregationally designated Sabbaths of Hope weekend observance in May, designated National Mental Health Month.
Here are a few quotes from faith leaders who have observed Sabbaths of Hope:
For additional information and resources available in English and Spanish go to http://www.mhah.org/Programs/MHPSOHO.html
ABOUT THE BOOK: Are you struggling with a loved one's illness? Do you struggle with feelings of loneliness, sadness, and anger? Do you feel guilty for having those feelings because you aren't the one who is actually ill? Do you find yourself wanting to run far away even for just a little while? Do you wish there was someone you could talk to that could validate these feelings? In A Stone’s Throw: Living With a Loved One’s Depression, Kay Cee shares her journey of living with a loved one's depression.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kay J. Cee is a wife and mom who still lives in the small, Southern town she was born in. She believes God has used this episode in her life to draw her closer to Him and to bring comfort to those who often go overlooked in the chaos of life. The book is available on Amazon by clicking here.
For some time I have been receiving the Wednesday Wonderings weekly emails from Rev. Gary Nelson. His devotions have been an inspiration in my own spiritual journey so I was delighted to hear that some of Nelson’s writings are now available in a book.
In Wednesday Wonderings Gary Nelson invites the reader into his own spiritual journey through the lens of the camera he carries with him. He has experimented with many methods and discovered that the camera lens often provides him one of the best means to notice, listen, and respond to God. The camera offers the opportunity to wonder about life lived in relationship with God and others. Through the process this pastor and pastoral counselor's devotions, called Wednesday Wonderings, offer helpful insights for life and an invitation for all of us to find our own means to wonder.
The proceeds from the sale of Rev. Nelson’s books go to his ministry to offer free seminars on teen depression in schools, churches, colleges, professional gatherings, etc. to educate about teen depression. For more information on his other book, A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression, visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
I have the privilege of working with the NAMI FaithNet national Advisory Committee. We have created some training modules to help NAMI members educate faith communities about mental illness. These powerpoint modules and many other resources are available on the NAMI FaithNet page at www.nami.org/namifaithnet. I encourage you to sign up to receive the NAMI FaithNet e-newsletters with timely resources.
The theme for this year’s NAMI national convention is “Together We Can Make a Difference.” The convention will be held in San Antonio at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, June 27-30. There will be a number of offerings related to faith and spirituality including Veterans and Families: Role of Faith, Community and Recovery, Faith Communities: A Help or a Hindrance, NAMI FaithNet Networking Session and a training session on the NAMI FaithNet training material.
You can check out the conference schedule and conference registration at http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=convention
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Service Agency) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed a website that integrates information from SAMHSA with Faith-Based and Community initiatives from the Administration on Aging, Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, Office of Minority Health, and Office of Population Affairs. http://www.hhs.gov/fbci/
We have put the best of our educational videos on our 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.
LIST OF SHOWS
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)
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. This resource can be ordered on our website
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.
Margin for Error
The other day I was “beating myself up” for something stupid I had done. I recalled a Peanuts cartoon I had seen some years ago. Lucy, as usual, is being her “school marmish” best. She says to Charlie: “Sooner or later there is one thing you’re going to have to learn. You reap what you sow, you get out of life exactly what you put into it, no more and no less.”
Charlie sheepishly replies, “I’d kind of like to see a little margin for error!”
We can all be our own worst Lucys. I’m just as guilty as most of you of being too hard on myself. I’m so grateful that our God is a God of grace...and allows for a margin for error!
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119