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INTRODUCTION TO BRIDGES OF HOPE

Download the Bridges of Hope Slides

Purpose & Content:

The purpose of Bridges of Hope is to educate clergy and congregations about mental illness so that they can create stronger safety nets and welcoming communities of faith for people living with serious mental illness.

Bridges of Hope is a three-part power point presentation, about 30 minutes in length with speaker notes.  In addition, approximately 25 minutes of testimonial and discussion time is woven into the presentation. The timing depends on the speaker’s pace and amount of dialogue that is encouraged by the facilitator.  It can be used in its entirety, or in sections, depending on the audience’s familiarity with the subject matter, and time allotment.   The main sections include:

  • Section I - What is mental illness?  How does it impact individuals, families, and communities?
  • Section II - What is the role of the faith community in helping people and families touched by serious mental illness?
  • Section III - Who is NAMI and what does it offer to individuals, families and faith communities?

Training and background for Bridges of Hope:

This presentation was created for NAMI members and friends who already feel comfortable speaking to community organizations and religious groups.  If the speaker does not feel prepared to do this, we strongly recommend reading carefully through the self-guided training power point materials in Reaching out to Faith Communities - especially if the speaker is not familiar with the unique challenges and questions one may encounter when educating religious groups.  Some of the content in Bridges of Hope is similar to that in Reaching out to Faith Communities, but they are each written for different audiences.  Reaching out to Faith Communities is for training NAMI members; Bridges of Hope is for religious groups.   Both are downloadable from www.nami.org/faithnet .  NAMI FaithNet also strongly recommends that presenters who reach out to clergy and congregations first take either Family to Family  or Peer to Peer.  These courses and studying Reaching out to Faith Communities will greatly strengthen the impact and quality of your presentation skills and help you better anticipate questions and concerns when speaking to faith groups.

Preparation for presenting Bridges of Hope to a faith community

When the opportunity arises and you have been invited to speak to a religious community, we suggest the following additional steps to prepare:

  • (Optional) Ask your host or hostess how much mental illness education and awareness this congregation already has.  What mental health issues have they encountered in the last year – suicides, substance abuse or other psychiatric crises?  What needs do they have individually and as a congregation?
  • Find out from your host or hostess how many handouts to prepare.  These are downloadable from www.nami.org/faithnet.
    • NAMI Fact Sheet
    • Multi-faith Mental Health Ministry Resources Web-links
  • Plan to bring NAMI brochures from your local NAMI affiliate.  Ideally these will list the NAMI support groups in your area, the education courses your affiliate offers and how to reach the nearest NAMI office.
  • Fill in the top box of slide 30 ( in the Bridges of Hope power point presentation)  with the name and contact information for the nearest local NAMI affiliate.  In the lower box, delete any of the NAMI programs not provided by that affiliate. 
  •  (Optional) Bring a list of local community mental health centers and a number to call in a psychiatric emergency.  Ask your NAMI affiliate if they already have this information compiled.  Be sure to indicate to your audience that NAMI does not recommend any one mental health provider over another, but encourages individuals and family members to seek treatment based on their own choice of providers.
  • Bring another NAMI member with you to give a 2-3 minute story about their journey with mental illness (slide 3) and another 3 minutes about the value of a NAMI program from which they have benefitted, such as Family to Family, Peer to Peer or a support groups (slide30).  Unit III of Reaching out to Faith Communities gives instruction on how to tell your story in 2-3 minutes.
  • (For those new to using power point.)  
    • Practice using the Bridges of Hope power point slides and speaker notes at home, advancing your slides at a comfortable speaking pace.  Be certain you know how to reverse the slides if you accidently advance too far. 
    • The slides alone do not contain the script for the speaker.  You must set the View function on the top menu bar to Notes Pages, in order to read the speaker’s notes. 
    • If you are not familiar with how to use Power Point, ask someone to help you.  Practice until you know the flow of thought well enough to keep eye contact with your audience. 
    • Unless you are certain you have someone to help you set up and trouble shoot before the presentation, make sure you ask someone to walk you through these steps.  Make notes about connecting and setting up the computer with the LCD projector.  Take them along.  They may be necessary in a pinch.
  • The speaker notes are essential.  To print out the speaker notes and place them in a thin notebook, be certain you have the View function on the top menu bar set to Notes Pages.
  • Many of the slides which have several bullet points will first appear blank on the screen.  Each bullet point will appear with a click of the mouse or space bar. 
  •  Keep track of the time and carefully manage the stories and discussion time.   The total session will be about 55 minutes.  The content alone of the slides is about 30 minutes.  The estimated time for stories and discussion which are woven into the presentation is about 25 minutes.
    • Slide  3 – a 2-3 minute story “My journey with mental illness”
    • Slide 9 – a 2 minute clarification about mental illness.  Be careful here not to get off track with questions about the symptoms or diagnosis of a specific mental illness or related brain disorders, such as Autism, Dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Refer people to www.nami.org.
    • Slide 16 – 5 minutes for questions after the overview on mental illness.
    • Slide 23 – 5 minutes for helpful or hurtful comments
    • Slide 26 – 6-8 minutes for “What Your Congregation can do”
    • Slide 30 – 3 minute testimonial about the benefits gained from one of the NAMI programs
    • Slide 34 – 5 minutes – Wrap up question and answer time

After Your Presentation: Please take a few minutes to give NAMI FaithNet your feedback.  You will find the link to a Survey Monkey questionnaire on slide 38 in the power point presentation.

Thank you for helping to build Bridges of Hope in your community.  If you have questions, suggestions or need assistance, please contact the NAMI  Help Line (800) 950-NAMI.


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