Faith Communities

Contact Us

NAMI Minnesota
800 Transfer Road, #31
Saint Paul, MN 55114

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
(1-888-626-4435)
fax: 651-645-7379

email: namihelps@namimn.org

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Interfaith Network for Mental Health

The Interfaith Network for Mental Health fosters mental health in faith communities through education, networking and support.

For a wealth of information, visit NAMI's Outreach to Faith Communities at NAMI FaithNet.

St. Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN)

Minnesota Council of Churches,122 Franklin Ave West, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55404
612-870-3600 or mcc@mnchurches.org

Local
Basilica of St. Mary (on the homepage click: Life, support, mental health ministry)
Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Minneapolis
Jewish Family Services of St. Paul
Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church Counseling Services
St. Joan of Arc Mental Illness Ministry

National
Pathways to Promise   
Virginia Interfaith Committee on Mental Illness Ministries 
Mental Health Ministries

Faith Communities

NAMI Minnesota serves as a resource to faith communities on programming designed to erase the stigma of mental illness. NAMI can provide technical assistance and customized educational forums and trainings to meet a congregation’s need.

Faith communities are in a unique position to combat stigma and provide a message of acceptance and hope. Serious mental illnesses are medical conditions that cause disturbances in a person's thinking, feeling, moods, and ability to relate to others. They can diminish a person's capacity for coping with the regular demands of ordinary life and can place tremendous burdens on family members and loved ones.

Unfortunately, both ignorance and fear continue to play leading roles in perpetuating the stigma that individuals living with a mental illness face. This stigma leads to under-funding of government programs for public mental health services, lack of appropriate housing and employment options, and pervasive media portrayals of persons with mental illnesses as violent, dangerous, or hopeless.

And yet, mental illnesses do not discriminate. These disorders affect people of every race, ethnic heritage, gender, language, age, and religious orientation. According to the U.S Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), at any given moment there are more than 48 million Americans living with a "diagnosable" mental illness, and 11 million are living with a "severe" mental illness. Persons with mental illnesses are our neighbors, our coworkers, our siblings, our friends. They are also members of our churches, synagogues, and other faith communities.

Religious communities are in a unique position to combat stigma and provide a message of acceptance and hope. Proclaiming the values of social justice, respect for all persons, and non-discrimination, faith communities can reach out to individuals and families affected by mental illnesses in many helpful ways. Sharing the message that all persons are worthy in the eyes of God, a faith community may be the only place where a person with a mental illness truly feels accepted, valued, and loved.

For people who find no other welcome in the larger community, being welcomed in a house of prayer by a concerned and caring community can make a critical difference for individuals with mental illnesses and their families. Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship can help families learn more about mental illnesses. They can open their doors and their hearts to people living with a mental illness and be a supportive presence in their on-going recovery.

Programs
- Specific forums on adult and/or children’s issues
- Presentations on teen issues for youth and adults
- Confirmation class presentations
- Collaboration with other organizations on presentations

Trainings
- Befriender and Stephen’s Ministers
- Religious Education teachers
- Youth Ministers
- Clergy
- Pastoral care and lay ministers
- Parish Nurses

Miscellaneous
- Help congregations assess programming needs
- Provide support group facilitation training
- Speaker’s Bureau
- Provide bulletin inserts
- Provide information for Mental Illness Awareness Week in October

Ways congregations can help
- Host any of the NAMI education programs:  Family-to-Family, Hope for Recovery, Children’s Challenging Behaviors, Progression, Transitions, and many others.
- Offer meeting space for ongoing support groups like NAMI Connection, family support groups or parent resource groups
- Recruit teachers for NAMI's education programs
- Participate on the NAMI Minnesota legislative network
- Participate in Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)
For more information please contact NAMI Minnesota, 651-645-2948.