Mental Health Ministry
Mental health concerns affect about one in four families. When a family member has a mental illness, the whole family is affected. One's faith can be a source of comfort and hope. However, discussion has long been pushed aside in churches and society as a whole. Some of this comes from attitudes that God will heal anyone with faith. Attitudes such as this lead to stigma and lack of treatment.
People with mental health conditions have long been shunted off to the corners of society. Treatment involved restraint, physical punishment, and crowded conditions. Even today, our jails are often used as de facto treatment centers, and many homeless people have mental health needs.
Just as we believe that all church facilities should be physically accessible and inclusive, we believe that God calls us to welcome every person. God also calls us to care for each other, and research indicates that many of those facing a challenge turn first to clergy or other church sources for assistance.
We can all be seed planters to help our churches begin or expand a mental health ministry. We plant seeds in faith and nurture and water those seeds. Some seeds take root and grow in surprising ways with a harvest we never could have imagined.
For more about mental health and spiritual life, including helpful videos, visit our partner site:
Mental Health Ministries
MHM offers a wide variety of print and media resources including bulletin inserts, articles, liturgies, training materials, an inspiration section and examples of what other faith communities have done. Topics include understanding depression, overcoming stigma, mental illness in different age groups, anxiety, addiction, teenage depression, suicide, eating disorders, PTSD and trauma.
Mental Health Ministries was founded by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder after a series of events led to severe depression and hospitalization in 1991. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, only a few persons at church knew of these struggles, which resulted in the family suffering in silence for two years. With few resources available, she created print resources and videos, including a book, In the Shadow of God's Wings: Grace in the Midst of Depression.
The mission of Mental Health Ministries is to provide educational resources to help erase the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities and help them become Caring Congregations for persons living with a mental illness and those who care for them. The Caring Congregations five-step model is based on a United Methodist resolution passed in 1993 to help congregations begin or expand a mental health ministry. The five steps include education, commitment, welcome, support and advocacy.
United Methodist Resources
Tim Vermande and Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, April 2018