Mental Illness and Families of Faith: The Challenge and the Vision, How Congregations Can Respond, is a downloadable resource/study guide for clergy and communities of faith. This tool is designed to be used with clergy, members of congregations, family members and anyone desiring to learn more about mental illness and how to respond with compassion and care. It can be used as a small group study or as a resource to quickly find information on a specific topic when the need arises. As with all Mental Health Ministries resources, you are encouraged to adapt the material and choose what would be most helpful in your particular setting.
By Pittsburg Theological Seminary
Working collaboratively, Pittsburg Theological Seminary and three other agencies compiled a gun violence resource kit. The kit is designed to help churches and other faith-based organizations write sermons, construct worship services, and inform congregants, spreading the message that the violence must end. The kit includes sermon starters and prayers written by Seminary students, community members, and pastors, as well as data about the epidemic of gun violence compiled by the Health Department.
“Every day, gun violence is impacting our communities. It is our duty to do everything we can to raise the issue and commit to working together with communities to solve the problem,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of Allegheny County Health Department. “We applaud and join the efforts of faith-based organizations, non-profits, and community members who are doing their part to address violence.”
By the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
The language we use to talk about mental health is especially important. It can have powerful consequences. While some may intentionally use unkind labels to describe individuals with mental health conditions, most people are just unaware that their language choices are harmful. To promote better understanding of appropriate language for mental health and to combat discrimination against individuals living with these challenges, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) has created ten principles of compassionate language. Whether you are a peer, family member, co-worker, clinician, or member of the media, we encourage you to adopt them.
By Rev. Barbara F. Meyers
The document “Mental Health Information for Ministers” was developed by Rev. Barbara F. Meyers after ministers told her that they needed information on mental health that they could use to look up something quickly as mental health issues came up. Rev. Meyers has a ministry focused on mental health (www.mpuuc.org/mentalhealth). She created the document so that ministers would have to look at only two pages for each kind of mental health situation – giving the symptoms, suggestions for the ministers, and a list of resources. It is now on the denominational reading list for candidates for the Unitarian Universalist ministry, but the content of the document is suitable to all religious traditions.
By Christa Andrade
Christa Andrade with the Mental Health Association of Southern Pennsylvania has put together a document, Developing Welcoming Faith Communities: Inspiring Examples of Faith-Based Initiatives. The Creating Caring Congregation five step model of education, commitment, welcome, support and advocacy is included in this resource along with examples of what faith communities are doing. The concluding sections says, Faith communities have always played a significant role in American life: They offer opportunities not only to express one’s spirituality but also to experience the benefits of fellowship. The examples above provide some guidance to others who want to help ensure that individuals with mental health conditions have the same opportunities for faith and fellowship as anyone else.
By The American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association has put together a website with helpful resources and links as well as a new resource guide, Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders with a companion Quick Reference on Mental Health for Faith Leaders. These resources can be downloaded from the APA website at www.psychiatry.org/faith.
By the Christian Reformed Church
A 4-part series for small groups produced by Disability Concerns of the Christian Reformed Church. An extensive Leader Guide helps those leading by giving important background information.
By the Entertainment Industries Council
This resource catalog is designed to connect faith and cultural leaders, entertainment creators interested in family friendly programming, and journalists with important information that can help to shape the conversation about mental health and substance use issues.
By Pathways to Promise
Pathways to Promise offers a downloadable resource, Mental Health Ministry: Children and Family Notebook. This notebook is designed to help individuals and congregations develop spiritual care with children and families facing mental health issues. Families are encouraged to adapt these resources to their particular congregation and local community. The notebook contains sample resources and information about a wide range of groups and organizations active in the area of children’s mental health.
This recently written handbook provides some basic information on alcoholism and addiction, the impact of parental addiction on children, facts about adolescent alcohol and drug use, and prevention strategies. It also has an appendix with handouts for use with children of alcohol and drug dependent parents.