Mental Health Ministries

Resource Guides

Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond Study Guide

(click here for more information)

Mental Illness and Families of FaithMental 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.

Recovery Month Toolkit

(PDF, English | PDF, Español | @ National Recovery Month)


Recovery Month ToolkitEvery September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), sponsors National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to increase awareness of behavioral health conditions. This observance promotes the belief that behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and/or substance use disorders. This document will help guide your event-planning process and provides tips and resources for planning Recovery Month events and distributing information in communities across the nation. 

New United Church of Christ Resource – Radical Belonging: A Mental Health Sunday Resource for All

As our communities slowly emerge from the collective trauma of COVID-19, the losses of the pandemic weigh heavily on our lives and communities. Within this context, The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network join our voices in calling faith communities to become intentionally inclusive places where God’s love is manifested through relationships of mutual respect for all people and their families, including those living with mental health challenges, substance use disorders, neurodevelopmental differences, brain disorders. This downloadable resource, available in both a PDF and a large print Word document, is for any congregation of any denomination that wishes to become a place of radical belonging.

Compassion in Action: A Guide for Faith Communities Serving People Experiencing Mental Illness and their Caregivers

(PDF, English | @ HHS)

By the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (Partnership Center)

Compassion in Action: A Guide for Faith Communities Serving People Experiencing Mental Illness and their CaregiversCenter for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (Partnership Center) leads the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services department’s efforts to build and support partnerships with faith-based and community organizations to better serve individuals, families, and communities in need. They have just released a new resource, Compassion in Action: A Guide for Faith Communities Serving People Experiencing Mental Illness and their Caregivers.  It provides seven principles as a starting point for any faith leader who wants to address mental illness.  From those principles, there is a list actions a faith community and its leadership can take to address mental illness.

The Role of Clergy in Preventing Suicide

(PDF, English | @ Lutheran Suicide Prevention)

Clergy and Suicide PreventionBy Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Strategy for Suicide Prevention have partnered on a valuable resource for clergy, The Role of Clergy in Preventing Suicide.  They identified the clergy as "key gatekeepers" — people who regularly come into contact with individuals or families in suicidal distress. This guide offers details about caring for such individuals and walking the fine line between spiritual support and mental health counseling.  It also has a list of helpful references and resources. 

Mental Health Resource Guide for Individuals and Families

(PDF, English | @ Saddleback Church)

Mental Health Resource Guide for Individuals and FamiliesBy Saddleback Church

The Mental Health Resource Guide for Individuals and Families is provided free of charge as a courtesy to those seeking insight and information on mental health. It is designed to serve as a simplified reference guide and should not be utilized as a diagnostic tool.

Preventing Gun Violence

(PDF, English | @ PTS)

By Pittsburg Theological Seminary

Preventing Gun ViolenceWorking 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.”

10 Ways to Combat Discrimination with Compassionate Language

(PDF, English | @ DBSA)

By the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

10 Ways to Combat Discrimination with Compassionate LanguageThe 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.

Mental Health Information for Ministers

(PDF, English | @ Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation)

By Rev. Barbara F. Meyers

Mental Health Information for MinistersThe 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 ( 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.

Developing Welcoming Faith Communities

(PDF, English)

By Christa Andrade

Developing Welcoming Faith CommunitiesChrista 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.

Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders

(PDF, English | Companion Quick Reference: PDF, English)

By The American Psychiatric Association

Mental Health: A Guide for Faith LeadersThe 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

Let's Talk! Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith

Let's Talk! Breaking the Silence Around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith(Study Guide: PDF, English | Leader's Guide: PDF, English)

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.

Catalogue Resource Guide of Toolkits and Content Suggestions for Faith and Cultural Leaders

Catalogue Resource Guide of Toolkits and Content Suggestions for Faith and Cultural Leaders(PDF, English | @ Entertainment Industries Council)

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.

Mental Health Ministry: Children and Family Notebook

Children and Family Notebook(PDF, English | @ Pathways to Promise)

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.

Preventing Alcohol and Drug Problems: A Course for Clergy

Preventing Alcohol and Drug Problems: A Course for Clergy(PDF, English | @ NACoA)

By National Association for Children of Alcoholics

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.

Congregational Resource Guide (CRG)

(@ TheCRG)


You can stay informed about mental health resources on the Congregational Resource Guide (CRG). The CRG features web resources, organizations, books, articles and more to help your congregation increase knowledge about mental health and how to support those with mental illnesses and their families.  There are descriptions of a resources and organizations addressing faith/spirituality and mental illness.