Mental Health Ministries

MHM e-Spotlight Spring 2019

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month.  Mental Health Month was created over 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all by Mental Health America. There are now designated times in May for groups to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in research, prevention and treatment on specific mental health issues.

Mental Health Ministries Resource Section - May: Mental Health Month

Mental Health Ministries has a section on our website dedicated to Mental Health Month, with a variety of educational and worship resources appropriate to use during May is Mental Health Month. The section includes downloadable resources created by Mental Health Ministries including three bulletin inserts or flyers.

Other resources included in the May is Mental Health Month resource section include:


Mental Health Sunday

Congregation worshippingMental Illness Awareness Month in May and Mental Illness Awareness Week (first week in October) are appropriate times to plan a Mental Health Sunday.  But congregations are encouraged to choose a Sunday to provide education and support for members around mental health challenges any time that fits their schedule. 

The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network has excellent resources to help you plan a Mental Health Sunday.  Worship resources include sermon ideas as well as complete sermons, a litany, unison prayers and more.  Resources for a Mental Health Sunday are available on their blog.  You can download and print these files or edit/format them to meet your needs.

Article – Mental Health Sunday: It's Time to Stop the Whispering

The Anabaptist Mental Illness Network offers some resources to help plan a Mental Health Sunday in which worship is inspired by the experiences of people living with a mental illness.  It is a way to educate through the communication of compassion, understanding and acceptance.

A pdf file, Resources for Worship: Mental Health Inspired, is available from the Anabaptist Mental Illness Network. Mental Health Resources for Worship, Advocates.pdf

 Read the Article here.

Worship Resources from the Nouwen Network for Mental Health

The Nouwen Network for Mental Health put together a prayers, liturgies and sermon starters for World Mental Health Day.  In the introduction to this pdf file, they acknowledge that it is very difficult to provide service outlines that are appropriate for every context.  They offer a variety of resources to help the ones that fit the needs of your own context. 

Article – Religion's Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health Around the World

A new survey of adults in 35 countries by the Pew Research Center examined the relationship between religious activity, happiness, civic engagement and health. In summary: “People who are active in religious congregations tend to be happier and more civically engaged than either religiously unaffiliated adults or inactive members of religious groups, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data in the United States and more than two dozen other countries.”

For the full report, click here.


African American Mental Health

African Americans talking with each otherAfrican Americans are no different when it comes to prevalence of mental health conditions when compared to the rest of the population.  However, your concerns or experiences and how you understand and cope with these conditions may be different.  Mental Health Ministries is lifting up several articles that focus on African American Mental Health and the important role that faith and community can provide in addressing stigma through education and support.  The information in these articles is also appropriate for other ethnic groups and under-served populations.

This article focuses on how mental health affects the African American community so that you know how to find help.

NAMI Sharing Hope Program

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers a number of resources on African American Mental Health.  The NAMI’s Sharing Hope Program is an hour-long program to increase mental health awareness in African American communities by sharing the presenters’ journeys to recovery and exploring signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. The program also highlights how and where to find help.

Article – How Churches Are Addressing the Mental Health Needs of the Black Community

In the black community, faith leaders play an important role in healing and supporting their congregants. As more people begin to acknowledge the growing concern of mental health, religious leaders are recognizing their role as not only spiritual counselors but also as resources for their congregants’ emotional and psychological needs.  Counseling@NYU, the online masters in counseling program at NYU Steinhardt, created a new piece titled, How Churches Are Addressing the Mental Health Needs of the Black Community, as a resource for religious institutions trying to support their members living with mental health conditions. In this piece, Dr. Norissa Williams, a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU, discusses the stigma of mental health in the black community and provides input on how mental health practitioners can work with religious institutions to aid members in their community.

Article – You Can't "Pray Away" a Mental Health Condition

African American PrayingMany African-Americans do not seek help because of their culture and the stigma.  The NAMI article, You Can’t “Pray Away” a Mental Health Condition, states "African-Americans need to know: A mental health condition is no different than a physical one. Our brains are the most important organ in our bodies and can get sick just like our hearts, lungs and livers. Not only that, you can recover from a mental health condition and lead a healthy life. Further, African-Americans are not immune from mental health conditions, and 5.6% of us die by suicide. Up to about two million (10%) African-American men live with depression."

Article – Why Faith is Important to African American Mental Health

The church and its leadership are a first choice for many individuals in times of personal distress. During a given year, clergy see more people than psychologists and psychiatrists combined.  As first responders, African American faith leaders play a compelling role in speaking with the community messaging. It is imperative that community leaders are well equipped to respond appropriately to mental health needs while helping remove barriers to care.

The following are a few helpful tips for faith leaders serving the African American community:

  1. Realize that mental health conditions are medical conditions that are very common. It is very likely that several families in your congregation are impacted by mental health in some way or another, which makes mental health a significant concern for the entire church.
  2. Mental health conditions are like all other medical conditions and should be treated as such. The individuals and families seeking your guidance deserve to have their needs addressed appropriately and from an accurately informed source. To learn more about mental health, faith leaders are encouraged to take the Mental Health 101 for African American Faith Leaders as part of the Mental Health Friendly Communities Training series.
  3. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to offer their gifts, talents and strengths to the community. Individuals living with mental health concerns are valuable community members. Remind them that they are part of an incredible community and greatness lies in them!
  4. Faith communities should not replace trained mental health services providers, but work to support them. Faith leaders should seek opportunities to collaborate and work together to help members of the community and their families

Read the whole article here.

NAMI National Convention

NAMI National conventionThis year’s NAMI national convention will be held in Seattle, June 19-22.  The convention’s theme, Our Movement, Our Moment captures the power and excitement of this moment as NAMI mobilizes the NAMI movement.  The 2019 NAMI National Convention offers engaging presenters, thought-provoking topics and the latest updates on important research.

For more information, click here.

NAMI FaithNet

NAMI FaithNet is an information exchange network of NAMI members friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to create more welcoming and supportive faith communities for persons and families touched by mental illness. 

Sign Up to Receive the Mental Health Ministries e-Spotlight Newsletter

If you wish to be added to receive our e-Spotlight newsletter, email Susan with your full name and email at  We send out six e-Spotlights a year full of timely resources.  All our Spotlights are archived on the website and most of the resources included can be found under the Resources section of the Mental Health Ministries website.  The topics are now alphabetized to help you easily access the helpful resources.

From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community

(Available on Amazon)

From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith CommunityEveryone wants to belong--in their community at large and especially their faith-based community. Nearly 20 percent of people live with a disability or mental health condition, which means so many families--maybe even yours--are dealing with these issues for their loved one. The one place everyone should feel like they belong is their house of worship and other faith-based community organizations. From Longing to Belonging is a new approach to inclusion. Author Shelly Christensen, M.A., a leader in faith community disability inclusion, provides step-by-step guidance to any faith-based organization committed to welcoming, supporting, and including people with disabilities or mental health conditions and those who love them. From Longing to Belonging will help your faith community take a new look at inclusion and belonging and learn how to welcome and include everyone.

"Like" Mental Health Ministries on Facebook

FacebookWe encourage you to “Like” us on our Facebook pageto get timely updates on resources, articles, and ideas of what other people are doing. We also encourage your comments, contributions and notifications about programs or events.

Snippets from Susan

When You're in a Dark PlaceI love gardening.  It is a spiritual experience for me.  Last fall I planted bulbs in my garden after a very hot summer in San Diego.  I was hoping the cool darkness of winter (and some much-needed rain) would awaken my bulbs in the Spring.  Sure enough sprouts are emerging from the soil and I look forward to remembering what bulbs I chose to plant where!

The dark and fallow times of our lives can indeed be times of unseen growth.  We can rejoice when we find ourselves blooming where we have been planted!



Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119