Submitted by Rev. Alan Johnson, UCCDM Board Member, UCC Mental Illness Network Chair, and UCC Mental Health Network Member
Sometime in late May there will be a White House Mental Health Summit and three UCC members have been invited to the White House for this Summit. Our UCC representatives are Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Rev. Craig Rennebohm and Rev. Alan Johnson. This is the message from the White House. “We are working on launching a national dialogue on mental health to address the social barriers preventing people from seeking mental health services – particularly the shame, fear, and misperceptions that surround mental illness and mental health services.” The first decision our UCC team has made is to work on a plan for at least a one-day event, Sunday, Oct 13, 2013 (part of Mental Illness Awareness Week), that will serve as a catalyst to strengthen and build congregational engagement in mental health response. Please stay tuned about how we, the UCC, can engage our denomination in this national dialogue.
Since May is also Mental Health Month, it is a good time for you to raise awareness about mental health challenges in your congregation. 1 out of 4 American families has a relative who has a mental illness. This staggering figure comes from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) which is the largest grassroots organization of people who are affected by mental illness/brain disorders. This figure mostly likely is also true for your church.
We want to point you to one resource which has an already prepared bulletin insert for highlighting Mental Health Month. MentalHealthMinistries.net. The director of Mental Health Ministries is the Rev. Susan Gregg Schroeder who is a keynote speaker at our fourth national UCC Widening the Welcome: Inclusion for All, June 27, in Long Beach, CA. Check out the Conference at wideningthewelcome.com . For more information or to register for the upcoming Conference, click here: Widening the Welcome 2013 Registration Brochure
We have come to believe, “There is no health without mental health.” Please give some of your attention to the mental health challenges that are being faced your own church members. If you have any thoughts, ideas, stories, or questions, please email Alan Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Grace and peace.