Never Too Late for Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness Week is almost over. But all is not lost! You can begin now to prepare for Mental Health Month next May, for Mental Health Awareness Week next October, or to promote Mental Health in the life of your congregation all year long. How about planning a Sunday worship service to lift up the stigma of mental illness? Or schedule a class or support group on an aspect of Mental Illness?

High quality resources abound on the web. Some places to start are:

Mental Health Ministries –  http://mentalhealthministries.net/

Pathways to Promise – http://www.pathways2promise.org/

Congregational Resource Guide — http://www.congregationalresources.org/mental-health-ministry-resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – http://www.nami.org/

Recently Michael Adams posted the following comment on Facebook that applies equally well to Mental Illness Awareness Week:

If you’ve never observed National Suicide Prevention Week before, and if you’re not sure how to observe it, let me suggest that you take the opportunity this year to learn what to look for and how to respond to signs of increased risk. Suicide is preventible, if you know what to do and when to do it. And every life saved by caring is better than any life lost to hopelessness.

Yes! people do recover!

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Event For Lay and Clergy on Mental Health and the Faith Community

Leroy Pickett represents the Mental Health Ministries Task Group at the Interfaith Mental Health Coalition meetings. This event, sponsored by the IMHC, promises to be well-worth your attendance.  LD

Interfaith Mental Health Coalition   www.interfaithmhc.org

 As a member of the United Methodist Church, Northern Illinois Conference Mental Health Ministries Task Group (MHMTG) and representative to the Interfaith Mental Health Coalition (IMHC), I invite you to participate in the second major Coalition event for clergy and lay leadership in the suburban area titled A Wealth of Mental Health Resources for Your Faith Community: Developing Collaborative Relationships That Work!. The conference is being held on Tuesday October 23, 2012, 7:45 a.m. – noon, at the Abbington Banquet Facility in Glen Ellyn, IL.  Register on the IHMC website.

I highly recommend our keynote speaker, Craig Rennebohm, who is nationally known for promoting effective mental health ministries at the local level. He will speak on “Faith Communities and Mental Health Services: Partners in Promoting Healing, Recovery and Wholeness.” I have been particularly impressed with his ability to meet, walk with, and help homeless people. Craig is author of the acclaimed book, Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, as well as the newly published books Mental Health Ministry: The Way of Companionship, and Organizing a Congregational Mental Health Team.

Our first conference The Mental Health Needs of Your Faith Community: How to Recognize, Respond, and Refer in November 2010, was a great success. It had over 200 people from 72 different local faith communities participate, including 59 clergy, 25 faith leaders, and 34 active lay person volunteers involved in ministries to those with mental illnesses and their families.

Surveys of clergy in our area have identified the need for educational events on mental health topics that would assist clergy and those in pastoral care roles, such as parish nurses, Stephen Ministers, chaplains, deacons, companions, befrienders, mentors, and people of faith with an interest in mental health issues. This educational event will provide such an opportunity.

Since it is a significant resource event, time will be available to meet representatives of different mental health providers who are sponsoring and exhibiting to help build potential referral connections.

There will also be an opportunity to dialogue with groups of mental health providers and faith community leaders in your local geographic area about needs, hopes, resources, and organizing possibilities.

If you have questions, feel free to contact Robert Skrocki, IMHC Leader, bpskrocki@comcast.net.

Hello world!

The “canned” title above is rather apropos. Setting up a blog is rather like birthing a baby — exhausting, but with a sense of accomplishment when you are done.

We are the Mental Health Ministries Task Group (of the Northern Illinois Conference – UMC). Through this blog we hope to encourage, support and.or resource you and your congregation in the area of mental health ministries. Your contributions and comments are always welcome. Submitted items should be for inspiration, encouragement, or education as they relate to mental health and the faith community. Posts sharing one’s personal experience must relate to the effect of the Church or one’s faith in living with one’s own mental illness or that of a family member. Submit posts or questions to deming_linda@att.net .

Check back periodically to see what’s new. You might be surprised!