Rate Your Church

Is Your Faith Community Responsive to Persons with Mental Illnesses?

  1. Does your congregation make a deliberate attempt to welcome and integrate persons with mental illness and their families into the total life and work of the church (without being obvious and setting them apart) by:
    • Being accepting, friendly, understanding and genuine?
    • Praying for those who are experiencing a mental illness the same as for other illnesses?
    • Visiting and calling on the individual experiencing mental illness and by offering to help in little ways (remembering to follow-through with commitment)?
    • Offering support and love to the parents or family of the individual, by inquiring about their family member’s health as one would for anyone who is ill?
    • Listening and talking with the individual experiencing mental illness?
  2. Does your congregation use every opportunity to educate themselves and others about mental illness by:
    • Encouraging clergy, lay staff and congregational members to learn about mental illness?
    • Raising awareness of mental illness in sermons, bulletins, and newsletters?
    • Adding books and other publications tot he congregation’s library?
    • Becoming familiar with local mental health services and support groups?
  3. Does your congregation offer its facilities and/or resources to individuals experiencing mental illness and their families by:
    • Hosting a group of people from a local residential facility?
    • Sponsoring support groups for individuals experiencing mental illness and/or families?
    • Offering employment opportunities?
  4. Does your congregation advocate for people experiencing mental illness?
    • Working with other churches and organizations, such as the Mental Health Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
    • Supporting efforts to obtain appropriate housing and jobs?
    • Not letting false, stigmatizing and discriminatory statements about mental illness go unchallenged?
    • Supporting adequate state and local budgets for mental health services?
    • Giving money for research into the causes and cures for mental illness?
  5. Does your congregation undertake a ministry to, ministry with, and ministry by persons experiencing mental illness and their families? Are they invited to serve as leaders and committee members?

(Sources: HopeAllianz Counseling and Healing Center. Adapted from criteria established by the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network, NAMI-MN: “Information about Mental Illness and NAMI-MN for Faith Communities and Religious Leaders,” 2001; FaithNet).