In This Issue:
By Judy Beckman, NAMI Toledo
Editorís note: In working to meet the NAMI mission, many NAMI Affiliates engage in faith outreach initiatives. NAMI FaithNet will periodically feature profiles of NAMI Affiliate efforts to promote success, innovation and effective practices. To assist NAMI Affiliate faith outreach efforts, NAMI FaithNet online resources are available online, including Reaching Out to Faith Communities and Bridges of Hope.
Open to people of all faiths, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Toledo, Ohio, offers specialized spiritual support for those who live with mental illness and their loved ones. Short, flexible meetings take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 12 - 1 p.m. and from 7 - 8 p.m. in the church conference room. Guided by NAMI principles for coping with mental illness, these meetings enable people to become acquainted with and explore spiritual perspectives that may make day-to-day living easier. Compassionate, unconditional love is most important in a healing community of those living with a mental illness.
Those whose symptoms make meeting attendance difficult may still benefit from community support. A leader can keep in touch by phone, email or through one-on-one visits. Our goal is to break down isolation, which is often a result of stigma, and include a spiritual focus in mental health recovery.
For those who are interested, there are opportunities to socialize with individuals in similar situations. Plans are made for get-togethers, which put more fun into life. Understanding that the effects of mental illness can make social participation more challenging, allowance is made for restlessness, breaks and conversation difficulties.
Judy Beckman has loved ones who live with mental illness. A strong supporter of NAMI and a passionate advocate for those who live with mental illness, she is dedicated to doing her part to make life better for individuals and their families. Judy has experience as a trained facilitator for NAMI Family-to-Family education program. She also has a bachelor's degree in social work. She nourishes her spirituality with regular Bible study in addition to prayer and worship. She may be contacted through NAMI FaithNet or 419-377-9898.
On Nov. 10, 2011, Reuters News Service reported a study published in the Journal of Religion and Health that found regular attendance at religious services produced a more optimistic outlook on life and a reduced susceptibility to depression. Those who reported attending services weekly were 22 percent less likely to be depressed or have depressive symptoms compared to non-attenders.
But a researcher on the study cautioned against people assuming that adopting a religion and heading off to a church, synagogue, temple or mosque would brighten their lives.
In an effort to evaluate and expand on NAMI FaithNet's current tools for faith based outreach, NAMI is seeking up to 10 NAMI Affiliates to participate in a pilot initiative evaluating the usefulness of NAMI FaithNet tools and resources. The $200 grants are available to NAMI Affiliates currently engaged in faith outreach and those who are planning faith outreach efforts, but do not have a formal program in place. This effort will enable NAMI to gain valuable insight from those in the field to further empower NAMI Affiliates who have yet to begin a faith outreach program and to learn from those already engaged in this activity.
Applications are required and due no later than Dec. 2, 2011. For additional information about grant requirements please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAMI FaithNet respects all faith beliefs. It also recognizes the expression by the majority of those affected by mental illness of the importance of the role of their spirituality in their ability to cope with having one of these illnesses themselves or in caring for an ill friend or family member.
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