Mental Illness Awareness Week


Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 2 - 8, 2016
National Day of Prayer: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

MI Awareness Week

One out of every four families in a parish will have to cope with the effects of mental illness. Find out some simple ways your parish can reach out to them. 

In 1990, the US Congress passed a resolution designating the first full week in October  “Mental Illness Awareness Week” (MIAW).  Its purpose was to give recognition to the work accomplished by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and similar organizations to educate and raise awareness about such conditions as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.    

One special highlight has been the designation of the Tuesday of MIAW as a day of prayer for mental illness recovery and understanding (this year it is October 4).  People of all faiths take part in diverse prayer services across the country, where our religious traditions add their voice to MIAW’s effort to raise awareness and loving support for people whose lives are affected by mental illness. 

NCPD has developed a variety of resources for your use.   Prayer services, reflections, personal stories, and links are some of the tools you will find.  It is our hope that within each of our dioceses, the Catholic Church will in some way be a part of the 2016 observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week.


Del 4 hasta el 10 de OCTUBRE de 2016

Una de cada cuatro familias en una parroquia tiene que luchar contra los efectos de enfermedades mentales. Averigüe unas maneras sencillas en que su parroquia pueda ofrecerlas ayuda.

En 1990, el Congreso estadounidense pasó una resolución que designó la primera semana completa de octubre como  “Mental Illness Awareness Week” “La  Semana de Conciencia  de Enfermedades Mentales” (MIAW por sus siglas inglesas).  El propósito es reconocer el trabajo realizado por la Alianza Nacional sobre Enfermedades Mentales (NAMI por sus siglas inglesas) y por organizaciones semejantes para enseñar y despertar conciencia sobre condiciones como la depresión, la depresión bipolar y la esquizofrenia.    

Un evento destacado ha sido la designación del martes de la Semana de Conciencia de Enfermedades Mentales (que este año es el 4 de octubre) como un día de oración para comprensión y recuperación de enfermedades mentales.  Creyentes de todas creencias tomarán parte en diversos servicios de oraciones por todo el país, en la cuales las tradiciones religiosas agregan sus voces a los esfuerzos de MIAW para despertar conciencia y apoyo cariñoso para las personas cuyas vidas están afectadas por enfermedad mental.

NCPD ha desarrollado una variedad de recursos para su uso. Servicios de oración, reflexiones, historias personales, y vínculos son algunas de las herramientas que van a encontrar. Es nuestra esperanza que dentro de cada una de nuestras diócesis, la Iglesia Católica pueda hacerse parte de la observación de la Semana de Conciencia de Enfermedades Mentales de 2016.


Below are Resources for Mental Illness Awareness Week

Reflecting on St. Therese of Lisieux, and Families Coping with Mental Illness,
by a Mother of an Adult with Mental Illness -

Click below to read

- in English

- in Espanol






Homily Notes


- in English

- in Espanol






 Prayer Service for Mental Illness Awareness Week

Use this prayer service with a group or join in the group that will pray it on the phone October 4 at either 3:00 or 7:00 pm eastern time. This will be an opportunity for those who live in places where getting a group together is not possible and for those who have trouble leaving the home. To participate, call 1-800-791-2345 and at the prompt dial conference code  5219#. Call 202-529-2933 if you are experienceing difficulties. 

We invite thosee unable to join us to pause at that time and pray the 1st Glorious Mystery, The Resurrection, as a sign of our belief that through Christ suffering is redeemed.

 Click below for the Prayer Service program (available by September 27.)

The NCPD’s Mental Illness Network will come together at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm Eastern on October 4th, for a 30-minute prayer service via telephone.  

See also page 60 of the Welcomed and Valued  resource Manual available at Amazon for “Prayers and Reflections”.



For more resourcs on Mental Illness click below.


 Chicago Achdiocese Mental Illness Ministries  Link
 Mental Health Ministries  Link
 NAMI Faithnet  Link
 Pathways to Promise  Link
 Theological Framework of the Council on Mental Illness
 NCPD Board Resolution  Link
 Council Members  Link



Welcomed and Valued

Resource Manual

The Resource Manual features 90+ pages of information, perspectives and tools to assist in the ministry with people with mental illness.


The Bilingual DVD (English with Spanish captions) features in depth looks at people with mental illness and how they participate in parish life.

 Both items are available from Amazon. 


Click here for the Resource Manual. 


 here for the DVD.



 Work of the Network


Join in the work of the National Catholic Network on Mental Illness to learn from people around the country who are helping parishes to welcome persons with mental illness and their families. 

(In Spanish and English).   To learn more about the Network's activies, click here.





Community Resources

Learn about local resources and how to use them effectively.  

Most local community mental health agencies are interested in connecting with community groups.  Find out how to contact your local agency and ask them to come and share information at a parish staff meeting, general parish meeting or other group. Ask about the best way to help someone find help or to make a referral.

Click here more information from faith based organizations concerned about mental illness within church communities follow the links below. 



National Agencies

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Click here to go to the NAMI website.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. - See more at:


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

SAMSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. 


(Click here for instructions on how to pray the Rosary) 

Some suggestions for that day and week:

For one of the regularly scheduled masses on the National Day of prayer, request that the mass intention be for people with mental illness and their families. Meet afterwards for discussion.


Prayers of the Faithful for people who have a mental illness and their families.

Click here.     See also Welcomed and Valued page 57.


In addition to the above, during Mental Illness Awareness Week parishes can offer the following:

  1.   Homilies about mental illness and recovery that emphasize the spiritual component to recovery (pg 55)
  2.   Presentations on mental illness and recovery to Church groups (use “Welcomed and Valued” video and resource manual)
  3. Presentations on justice issues related mental illness to Church groups (pg 53)
  4.  List where mental health services are available in your area
  5.  List of advocacy ideas for improved mental health services (see topics in “Welcomed and Valued”)
  6. As part of Respect Life activities include mental illness issues
  7. Publish bulletin articles about mental illness and recovery (pg 36)
  8. Start a support group for people with mental illness (pg 91)


History of the event: Click here.

Sample bulletin article: Click here 

Article by Tom Lambert, "An Inclusive Church is Like a Stain Glass Window" .
See this article in the West Texas Catholic newspaper.
Click here.

Valuable resources available through the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, click here.

2016 Prayer Service CMR.pdf376.98 KB