Why should your faith community care about mental health?
Because 1 in 4 people in your congregation is affected by mental illness. Mental illnesses do not discriminate -- they affect people from all races, creeds, income categories and social classes. Stigma keeps people from sharing their stories with others in your congregation, so they seldom get the support we offer to people with other types of illnesses.
Because more than half of people who seek outside help when they are in crisis turn first to their clergy/faith leaders, before they seek help from psychiatrists, physicians or psychologists. If you are a faith leader, do you feel prepared to counsel on mental health problems? If you are a member of a faith community, do you feel confident your leaders have the education and training they need to help you and your family deal with the mental health issues you face?
Because there are many people who are living with a mental illness/brain disorder who are looking for a faith community that offers an inclusive welcome and provides spiritual support. Do you want to learn more about how to become more inclusive and welcoming and how to offer spiritual support in your faith community?
What is INMI?
INMI is a nationwide non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado. We are an interfaith organization, meaning we welcome participation from all faith traditions, and we affirm that spirituality is an important component of recovery from mental illness. Learn more about INMI.
Our mission is 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.
What we do
INMI offers resources and support to clergy (pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, etc.), staff, lay leaders and members of faith communities. In the Boulder/Broomfield, Colo. area, INMI offers live conferences, workshops and other events. Learn about upcoming events.
Whether or not you live in our vicinity, if you are a faith community leader or staff member, you can take advantage of our resources on mental illnesses to help you recognize common brain disorders and make referrals to mental health professionals when it is appropriate. Be sure to visit the
Caring Clergy Project website to see a series of short videos specifically for faith communities.
How you can help
Join INMI's network and learn about best practices, resources and the experiences from faith communities regarding
mental illness/brain disorders. We welcome your input and your stories to share with others. You can let faith communities and organizations know about INMI and you can invite members of your faith community to join INMI.
The latest issue of The Christian Citizen focuses on the intersection of the church and mental illness. Be sure to see the article by INMI cofounder Joanne Kelly about the WISE model for welcoming, including and supporting people with mental illnesses in your congregation and for engaging with other organizations working in this arena.
Take a half hour and listen to these powerful podcasts. The first is an interview with Rick Warren and his wife about how churches can be more welcoming to people with mental illnesses, and the second one is with Rev. Sarah Lund, author of "Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and the Church." Both are touching and inspiring.
See the new "Suicide Prevention and Response" video series on the Caring Clergy Project website. This series of short videos, produced by INMI, is written specifically for clergy and staff of faith communities. Learn how to recognize risk factors and warning signs of suicide, how to tell if a person is considering suicide and how to respond if you discover they are. You'll also learn how to respond to families after a suicide and how to plan a memorial service for someone who has died by suicide.
If your faith community welcomes and offers support to congregants with mental illnesses and their families -- whether through a support group, mental health ministry or other services -- please register in the Interfaith Network on Mental Illnessís online directory of organizations operating at the intersection of faith/spirituality and mental health. Use the "Interfaith Online Directory" button on the left or go to www.inmi.us/fwconn.html.
Join the conversation: A new INMI blog called FaithWorks offers reflections on the intersection of faith/spirituality and mental health. Join us in discussing many topics related to faith and mental health challenges.
"Perturbed and Passionate Parents Speak Out: Cracks in the Mental Health System and How to Fix Them" -- a free conference on Tuesday, May 12 in Boulder. Get details.
Spiritual Support Group for Mental Health and Wellness every 2nd and 4th Monday evening from 7-8:30 at the First Congregational Church FAITH Center, southwest corner of Pine and Broadway, Boulder. For people who are affected by mental health challenges and the family members and friends who support them. Email Anne Weiher at email@example.com with any questions.
New Spiritual Support Group for Mental Health and Wellness every 2nd Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1241 Ceres Drive, Lafayette, Colo. For people who are affected by mental health challenges and the family members and friends who support them. Email Lu at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A mental health support group in Broomfield focuses on supporting family members/close associates of persons with mental illness, within a spiritual framework. The group meets every other Thursday at Broomfield United Methodist Church, 545 W. 10th Avenue, Broomfield, Colo. Meetings start at 7:00 p.m. For more information, contact Leandra Price at email@example.com (Meetings are on slightly different schedule during summer months.)