Six Week Bulletin Series - Short Version

SAMPLE ARTICLES FOR BULLETINS & NEWSLETTERS

It is recommended that the following be introduced with an article from the pastor asking the parish to be aware and involved at some level in outreach to persons with a mental illness and their families. After each article a contact person within the Faith Community should be identified for people who want further information.


Week 1 – First in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

According to the National Institute of Health, in a given year about one in four people has a diagnosable mental disorder, while one in seventeen has a severe mental illness.  As a faith community, we can offer spiritual comfort through our prayerful presence in people’s lives by seeking to understand their difficulty, acknowledging their pain, and supporting them through the healing and recovery process.  


Week 2 – Second in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

Many people with mental illness are in recovery and lead normal lives, making their illness invisible. Others are able to function at some times but at other times find the disease debilitating. Some struggle with work and insurance issues leading to inadequate or inconsistent care. As a faith community, we can make a difference in people’s lives by being accepting of mental illness, comforting them in time of crisis, supporting them when needed, and assisting them in their search for mental health services.

Week 3 – Third in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

In 1963, when  the de-institutionalization of mental institutions, asylums, and hospitals was mandated, the local communities who were to provide services never received the necessary and promised funding, resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients with no place to go.  This dilemma still exists today: many families are ill equipped to handle the needs of family members with mental illness, many small-scale institutions have precisely the same terrible conditions decried in 1963, and far too many people with mental illness are on their own, often homeless or in prison.

As a faith community and in justice, our advocacy is needed for better systems of care that serve people with mental illness and their families.

 

Week 4 – Fourth in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

The dignity of the individual is paramount in our belief that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Our language should reflect that belief. Saying “a person who has a mental illness” rather than “the mentally ill” reminds us that personhood is first and that disease is not definition.
 

Week 5 – Fifth in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

People with mental illness and their families often feel isolated from their faith community and thus isolated from God. Isolation is often caused by social stigma: the idea that mental illness is a question of character or a punishment from God. As a healing community we can support people with mental illness and their families with unconditional non-judgmental love in the following ways: increasing our awareness of mental illness and those organizations who provide services; offering prayers and support to individuals and families affected; serving on parish committees for outreach to individuals and families and getting involved in peer to peer ministry; and working on the justice issues affecting mental health care.

 

Week 6 – Sixth in a series of what our Faith Community can do to minister to those with mental illness and their families.

At this point the specific goals for the Faith Community can be outlined. Some suggested beginnings are:

  • Plan an educational evening with a speaker, video, or panel discussion regarding issues facing persons with a mental illness and their families.

  • Have groups or organizations in the parish community meet to discuss further steps to be taken.

  • Invite a group of parish leaders to develop this ministry.

 

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