Summer is here after many parts of our country have dealt with unseasonal and unpredictable weather. BBQs are being fired up and patio furniture is ready for eating outdoors. We look forward to vacations and family gatherings. People are ready to soak up the warm rays of sun as the days get longer.
Even our faith communities have a more relaxed schedule of activities during the summer. With no major Holy days we can practice Sabbath time. We can take time to appreciate the sacred ordinary of daily living as we take time to recharge, refresh and renew our spirits.
The “It’s Up To Us” campaign is developed through the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and funded by the County Mental Health Services Act. By raising awareness, educating the community, and providing easy access to local organizations and services, the goal is to initiate change in perception, inspire wellness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health challenges. "It's Up to Us" offers a bulletin with mental health related information, resources, ways to get involved and also stay informed. They did an interview with me about Creating Caring Congregations in the Spring 2013 Bulletin. Past issues are available at http://www.up2sd.org/connect/bulletins
The Center for Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health focuses on many aspects of research and training on culture, religion, spirituality and well-being. New publications on Religion, Culture and Mental Health are available from the Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health. Materials were developed in consultation with the members of the clergy and representatives of several cultural groups.
Also New! Spirituality Group Leader Guide: These materials provide guidance on culturally sensitive ways to conduct group discussions using spirituality to promote mental health. For More information on the Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health, please contact: Carole Siegel, Director. email@example.com or visit: http://cecc.rfmh.org
I highly recommend the movie, “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film.” It is a powerful and thoughtful movie. Through the five shorts named after each title character…Lucy, Eddie, Allison, Grace and Maggie…powerful relationships built on hope and triumph and raises a new understanding of different types of mental illnesses. http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/call-me-crazy-a-five-film%23
In a short film, Kimberly Knox shares her story—her struggle with Bipolar 1 and how she came to conquer it—designing and creating Mood Watch in a psychiatric hospital—in search of inner peace. Key tools are meditation and mindfulness.
Available at the Apple iTunes or Android app stores for $.99. This app is endorsed by NAMI and the International Bipolar Foundation.
Watch the video here:
You can also watch a webinar featuring Kimberly Knox sponsored by the International Bipolar Foundation.
Each day men and women diagnosed with mental disorders are told they need to pray more and turn from their sin. Mental illness is equated with demonic possession, weak faith and generational sin. Why is it that the church has struggled in ministering to those with mental illnesses? As both a church leader and professor of psychology and neuroscience, Michael S. Stanford has seen far too many mentally ill brothers and sisters damaged by well-meaning believers who respond to them out of fear or misinformation rather than grace.
Grace for the Afflicted is written to educate Christians about mental illness from both biblical and scientific perspectives. Stanford presents insights into our physical and spiritual nature and discusses the appropriate role of psychology and psychiatry in the life of the believer. Describing common mental disorders, Stanford asks of each: "What does science say and what does the Bible say about this illness?"
Tend His Sheep is a no-cost mental health consultation service for missionaries, pastors, faith leaders in ministry, and health care providers in medical missions. Its purpose is to provide biblically based mental health information and consultation to care givers for the healing of persons and for the glory of God. Based on the scriptural passage of John 21:15-17, the goal of the ministry is to fulfill the calling of Christ and to tend His sheep within the context of health care and spiritual well-being. For more information visit www.TendHisSheep.com
Pathways to Promise is a cooperative effort to equip congregations and denominations to more effectively incorporate persons with mental illness. They have new resources on coping with violent and traumatic events, including a link to a SAMHSA webpage with extensive materials. The SAMHSA site includes resources for students, parents, teachers, other caregivers, responders and health professionals.
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
The new Mental Health Ministries website is now "live!" Our web designer, Jenny Greene, has updated our website to make it easier to navigate and find the resources you need.
Mental Health Ministries is an interactive web based ministry to provide educational resources to help erase the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities. Our mission is to help faith communities be caring congregations for people living with a mental illness and those who love and care for them. Using the “Caring Congregations” five step model of education, commitment, welcome, support and advocacy, our user friendly media and print resources provide a “menu” of resources that can be adapted to the unique needs of each faith community. We have developed many resources in the past twelve years and the Resource section includes:
We also have an Inspiration section that includes Devotions, Prayers and Quotations.
You are encouraged to sign up to receive our periodic e-Spotlights that provide timely information and links to resources addressing spirituality and mental illness. While we are not able to provide referrals or information on programs in specific areas, we do encourage you to share what you are doing for our Models of Ministry or the Your Ideas section of the website.
We are excited our newly designed website and hope you will find it a helpful destination to quickly access resources as you work as individuals and faith communities to erase the stigma of mental illness.
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.
There are also a number of DVDs 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.
This 2 DVD set is closed captioned. This resource can be ordered on our website
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.
The Banyan Tree
My husband and I spent some time on Maui, Hawaii, this spring. The courthouse square has an amazing banyan tree covering two thirds of an acre that was imported from India and planted in 1873 to mark the 50th anniversary of Christian missionary work in Lahaina.
The banyan tree has an amazing and unique root system. Like most trees, banyans have roots that live underground. But unlike most trees, banyans also have roots that begin their life above ground. Thin twine-like cords drop horizontally from the branches. When the cords reach the ground they automatically connect and root into the earth. In time, after a bundle of thin chords roots into the earth, the bundle grafts to form a single, solid and thick root. This root supports the branch it originally grew from, allowing that branch to grow longer and wider. A mature root looks like a tree trunk so that a single tree can look like a small forest or group of trees.
It is no wonder that in many cultures and faith traditions, the banyan tree is considered sacred and representative of eternal life. In Hinduism the leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the god Krishna and Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a banyan tree. The wood, bark and sap of the tree have many practical and medicinal uses.
Standing under that banyan tree was a tangible symbol for me of how all of life is interconnected. All of us at times are like those branches that need extra nourishment and nurture to grow and thrive. My prayer is that we all might find those sources of support in our daily lives and find new life under a sheltering tree.
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119