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Mental Health | Congregational Accessibility Network

Mental Health

Mental health and mental illness are crucial issues for any faith congregation.  With a growing awareness of the role of faith in mental health, there are many resources available.  The following links are among the best resources on this topic.  CAN thanks ADNet for permission to borrow from the extensive collection of links on their On Mental Health page which you are encouraged to visit for more details.

Interdenominational and Interfaith Ministries

Pathways to Promise Pathways to Promise: Ministry and Mental Illness
An interfaith technical assistance and resource center which offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry with people with mental illness and their families.

Mental Health Ministries
Mental Health MinistriesAn interdenominational ministry dedicated to educating church leaders to decrease the stigma associated with mental illnesses in faith communities. Resources for faith communities to assist inclusion and support of persons with mental illnesses and their families into the life of the community.  Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond, a free 54-page resource/study guide for clergy and communities of faith.

Interfaith Network on Mental Illness
INMIA non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness among clergy, staff, lay leaders and members of faith communities and help them more effectively develop and nurture supportive environments for persons dealing with mental illnesses and their families and friends.

NAMI FaithNetFaithNet NAMI is a partnership of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and the Faithnet grassroots network.  FaithNet NAMI recognizes the importance of spirituality in the recovery process. Interfaith Network of Boulder County is a local FaithNet affiliate offering additional resources.

Pastoral Care, Counseling, & Chaplaincy Resources

American Association of Pastoral Counselors. The mission of the AAPC is to bring healing, hope, and wholeness to individuals, families, and communities by expanding and equipping spiritually grounded and psychologically informed care, counseling, and psychotherapy. Find a pastoral counselor

Avia Pastoral Care. Spirituality of Mental Health Ministry. Small groups reflect on how experiences of faith are shaped by the experience of mental illness, contemplating questions such as, “How do my faith and my struggles for mental wellness inform each other? Where can God be found directly in this experience, not simply despite it?” Avia founder Terry McKinney, a minister at First Church Cambridge, has a vision for sharing the model with other communities.

Mental Health Ministry Resources from the Congregational Resource Guide is a listing of resources for faith communities, pastoral caregivers, and the general public.

Denominational Programs

Caring Communities Program  of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society has a section on Creating Caring Congregations to foster understanding of mental illness and ministry with those living with mental illness and their families. They  commit to engage in ongoing welcome, support and advocacy.

Lutheran Network for Mental Illness/Brain Disorders.  A cooperative effort of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Offers Annual Candle Lighting service liturgy and quarterly newsletter.

Comfort My People.  82-page study guide on serious mental illness prepared by the Presbyterian Church USA Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, with recommendations for congregational action. “The Land of Exile” explores the difficulties and injustices endured by people with serious mental illness. “God’s Call to Comfort” focuses on appropriate ways congregations can minister with and to people with a serious mental illness.

National Catholic Partnership on Disability– Mental Illness Initiative . The goal of the initiative is to help participants in becoming better able to embrace people with mental illness and their families in a parish setting and to become familiar with the unique role that a parish community has in the process of recovery.

Communities of Healing and Support

Plymouth Healing Communities 
By offering a home and companionship to individuals who are recovering from an acute episode of mental illness, Plymouth Healing Communities breaks the cycle of hospitalization and homelessness and provides a positive alternative to shelters and the street.

Comprehensive bibliography

Dimensions of Faith and Congregational Ministries with Persons with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families. Ed. William C. Gaventa. New Brunswick, N.J.: Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities. Download from the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center.  A comprehensive bibliography and address listing of resources for clergy, laypersons, families, and service providers. Resources are organized by category, including worship and sacraments, the arts, architectural and attitudinal accessibility, mission, theology, pastoral care and counseling, religious education, resources for families, Jewish resources, etc.  Note that this edition is from 2009 so entries may be out of date.

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Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN)
1840 Homewood Ave.
Williamsport, PA 17701-3935
(574) 383-9398