No, we are not late for St. Patrick's Day, but right on time for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Church in Society Committee of the PSWR has determined that there is both a need and interest in equipping congregations to accompany people who are afflicted by mental illness. We hope this helps.
In 2014 Chalice Press published “Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and Church” by Sarah Lund Griffith. It is both biographical and practical as it includes steps and guides for congregations to assist those living with mental illness directly and indirectly. Included on this webpage are other important sources including a study guide and quick reference guide for clergy and more.
In response to an approved resolution at the 2015 General Assembly, “Becoming a People of Welcome and Support to People with Mental Illness and/or Mental Health Issues”, NBA (National Benevolent Association) of the Christian Church (DOC) developed “NBA Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group” that is a vehicle for information and support for those affected by mental illness or other mental health issues.
A webinar series began just last month by NBA and the first presentation can be viewed or downloaded HERE. This webinar is highly informational and provides many other resources for faith leaders and congregations.
NBA also is producing a blog about mental illness from a variety of perspectives.
Disciples Women also immediately responded to the call for journeying with people with mental illness and their families in their Fall 2015 issue of Just Women. A complementary study guide is also available.
Outside of our Disciples world, other helpful resources are available. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides bulletin inserts, suggestions and a network with other faith organizations that are striving to meet the needs of people affected by mental health issues. NAMI FaithNet is the website where much of this can be found. For a quick look at how faith and spirituality is helpful when dealing with mental illness click HERE.
As we walk together towards the all-curing gileadic balm, may these resources bring sustenance and light our way through the darkness of mental illness.
Rev. Cheri Metier
PSWR Church in Society
Mission Project Consultant