Suicide Prevention Week
September 7–13, 2014
September 7–13, 2014
In recognition of national Suicide Prevention Week, September 7–13, this abbreviated issue is dedicated to information about suicide prevention and resources for those in crisis and those who minister to them and their loved ones.
October 6 thru 12, 2013
Recordings Available On-Line
The theme of this year’s Widening the Welcome conference was “God’s Vision: The Great Dinner is Open for All.” If you would like to hear any of the presentations, go to www.wideningthewelcome.com and click on “Resources.”
Widening the Welcome is an annual conference of the United Churches of Christ ministry for people with mental illness or disability.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities, large or small, for public education about mental illness.
MIAW coincides with the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (Oct. 8) and National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 10.)
For more information and materials to promote Mental Illness Awareness Week, go to www.nami.org and click on the link for the week. Posters, tool kits, and other useful downloads are available.
Save the Date: January 15, 2014
Hosted by Pathways to Promise and other co-sponsors
Panelists throughout the day will represent:
Location:Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
You will come away with resources and contact people.
Minimal cost to cover food.
Scholarships will be available.
For more information contact: Robert Skrocki, Pathways to Promise, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 7 thru 13, 2012
by The Rev. Karen MacDonald
May our faith communities be sanctuaries of hope and support for those affected by mental illness.
The 2012 Interfaith Conference was a success in Tucson.
It was a day of information and inspiration. Over 400 people of varying faiths came together around a common cause on Friday, April 27: better responding to mental illness and exploring local resources for care.
This unique conference, hosted by Interfaith Community Services and held at St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church, included presentations by noted local and national experts in the faith and mental health fields. Attendees packed workshops and breakout sessions exploring such topics as being an advocate for a loved one affected by mental illness, understanding depression, suicide prevention, mental health issues in the aging and youth/young adult populations, and successful care models being utilized by faith communities to be more welcoming places for congregants struggling with mental illness.
A resource fair featured informational tables and hand-outs from over 20 local agencies and organizations providing mental health services. Go to Interfaith Tucson for a listing of local care resources.
One attendee came away with “…the overwhelming sense that together we can make a difference. Clearly there is much work that we still need to do,” she added.
According to the Surgeon General, one in five Americans will suffer a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Many will first turn to their faith leader for help and guidance. The conference was designed to equip attendees with information for understanding mental illness and the role of faith in the healing process. It also provided tools for being better prepared to relate to congregants coping with mental illness.
“What can we, as faith leaders, do to better help someone who is struggling with mental illness?” asked one lay leader to a presenter who had shared her personal story of caring for her mother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “Be there” was the answer. “Be compassionate. Be available.”
“I’ve been dealing with my husband who has bi-polar disorder,” said one attendee. “I’ve been shouldering this alone. You’ve inspired me to call our family priest.”
Added one speaker, “I’ve learned that mental illness is a part of you. It doesn’t define you.”
Faith Communities and Mental Illness: Tools for Response and Care was made possible by funding from The David C. and Laura M. Lovell Foundation. Additional support was provided by more than a dozen churches, community agencies, and businesses.
Additional efforts will continue the momentum from this inspiring conference:
The Rev. Karen MacDonald is the Faith Community Engagement Manager at Interfaith Community Services in Tucson, Arizona.
Everyone is welcome at this UCC sponsored conference
For complete information, registration, hotel and more — head to wideningthewelcome.com
Churches usually have a welcome sign outside their building. What we want to demonstrate and encourage is the welcome that is experienced inside the church and as a result, that transformative power will be released into the world. As we read, “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13b),” this conference seeks to build up our churches to be welcoming and inclusive communities. This includes people who have been touched by or have experienced a mental illness/brain disorder and/or a disability, apparent or unapparent.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October in sponsoring many kinds of activities.
This year, the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012.
MIAW has become a NAMI tradition. It presents an opportunity to all NAMI state organizations and affiliates across the country to work together in communities to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education, and advocacy.
The MIAW Idea Book (MIAW site) suggests activities that can be incorporated into planning for the fall. Stickers, posters, and a web banner to use on websites or in documents are available for download in English and Spanish. Other special resources can be downloaded at the NAMI.org website (resources for outreach to faith communities).
Start your MIAW preparation now and begin changing attitudes, changing lives!