Interfaith Bulletin Insert and Responsive Reading
1 in 10
One in ten of those sitting next to us in the pews every Sunday has a serious mental illness.
1 in 5
One in five families has someone in their immediate family that has a serious mental illness.
The vast majority of those affected by mental illness sit in lonely silence. They fear that rather than receiving support that will be shunned.
What can we do as individuals and as a congregation to make those with mental illness feel welcome and safe in our midst? What can we do to help them understand that God loves them and is with them even in their most difficult times?
How can one help carry the burden of someone who has a mental illness?
Be there!!! Show up!!!
Listen without a judgmental attitude.
Communicate. Listen as a person, not as a learned religious figure. Share your thoughts and feelings.
Empower by demonstrating that you believe in him or her.
Ask what you can do to make a difference. Ask, "What can I do to help?"
Learn about serious mental illness in order that you can have some understanding of what it is like to "walk in his or her shoes."
If it seems indicated refer him or her to persons specially trained to help with mental illness issues. If necessary, make the appointment and/or provide transportation.
If medication has been prescribed, reassure him or her that it is almost always necessary for those with a serious mental illness and that it can enable one to function very well.
Reassure your friend that God is constantly with him or her, even if he or she can’t sense it at that moment.
Follow through and come back to see your friend when he or she is feeling well.
Leader: We pray for those who are suffering.
Congregation: Give us the wisdom to know what we can do to comfort them and be with us as we attempt to do so.
Leader: Today, we especially ask that you be with those with a mental illness. Help them to have faith that you are with them even in their most difficult times.
Congregation: Guide us as we show them love and compassion.
Leader: We beseech you to provide understanding and direction to the leaders of our nation. Help them to recognize the needs of those who are suffering and have the desire to respond with justice and compassion.
Congregation: Help us all to do the same.
All: Bless, guide and heal us. Amen