In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with community groups in your area to raise awareness about mental illness. Information and resources, including a new bulletin insert, are available at MIAW.
The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Awareness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, October 4. This day of prayer was initiated by Angela Vickers of NAMI Florida and Gunnar Christiansen of NAMI California in 2004. It has had widespread support by individual congregations and National Faith Community Mental Illness Networks.
In seeking God’s guidance, we can recommit ourselves to replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and love in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.
You can download helpful resources at liturgies to use for the National Day of Prayer on the Home page of the Mental Health Ministries website. This resource is available in English and Spanish. Many faith communities have sponsored an interfaith candle lighting service using a liturgy written by Carole J. Wills that is included in this resource.
Interfaith Ministries & Mental Illness 2009 National Summit
September 29-October 1
Pathways to Promise was formed to mobilize national faith groups and local congregations across the United States to reduce stigma and to support people with mental illnesses and their family members in the process of recovery.
As a result, the last two decades have seen exemplary models of ministry emerging in congregations across the country.
At the National Summit, come learn from the successes and help us establish new pathways for progress and collaboration.
The conference is co-sponsored by and will be held at The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL, 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. For hotel reservations call (800) 682-2879.
Trusting that the necessary major funding will come through, Pathways to Promise is planning it’s first national conference. Entitled, Companions on the Road to Recovery—New Pathways for the 21st Century. The conference will take place on September 29, 30, and October 1, 2009 at the convention facility of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows located in Belleville, Illinois just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
Faith group delegates, consumers, advocates, clergy, and mental health professionals are all welcome. The planning committee hopes that Teams from different faith groups will be able to use the time to set goals for future collaborative efforts. The convention plan also calls for showcasing models of cooperation among mental health centers/providers and faith groups. The term “Companions” refers not only to being a companion to someone experiencing a mental illness, but to the collaboration of all involved—congregation and community.
According to Bob Dell, Pathways executive director. This re-enforces the original vision of Pathways—that we can do more cooperatively than alone.
For more information on all aspects of the “Companions on the Road to Recovery” conference watch the Pathways to Promise Web site for further details.
We are coming together for the first time as a diocese to begin building our base of Arkansas parishes that are caring communities of faith for people with mental illnesses. The one-day conference will be held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Together, we will explore spirituality and mental illness from the perspectives of persons with such illnesses and their families, mental health professionals and lay and clergy advocates. The workshop participants will identify actions to help their parishes become welcoming faith communities that minister to people with mental disorders and their loved ones.
“We want to take a realistic look at what the Church has done and not done to help parishioners facing problems with mental illness. I hope that we can come away from the workshop with a spirit of commitment for every parish to be a safe and welcoming place,” says EMIN co-coordinator Deacon Bean Murray.
Registration is free. In addition to Arkansans, all EMIN News readers are invited to attend. Plans for the conference are incomplete at this time. Details will be posted at www.eminnews.org as they are finalized.
EMIN-Arkansas is deeply grateful for the grant we received from the Keller Fund for Mission to fund this conference.