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July 6, 2007

Online poll: Have Your Clergy Been Trained?

In editions of the FaithNet newsletter earlier this year, we reported on various efforts to train clergy in how to minister to people with mental illnesses.

One such effort is in Utah, where members of NAMI Utah have been assisting in offering training sessions for church leaders at various Utah sites during the past four years. (Read more)  Another effort is in New Jersey, where the PEWS program is building bridges with black churches and clergy. (Read more)

More recently, news articles from Chicago, IL and Bakersfield, CA , have discussed similar efforts.

This led us to pose our first online poll question for the FaithNet network: have your clergy been trained?

During June, 2007, 82 people responded to this online poll question: Thinking about your particular faith community (church, mosque, synagogue, temple, etc.), have your clergy received specific training in how to minister to individuals and families living with serious mental illness?

The results are:

Yes

12.2%

Some clergy have, some have not

15.9%

No

53.7%

Don't know

18.3%

It is clear that there is still much work to be done by those of us who are advocates. Given that almost 1 in 5 respondents did not know the answer to the question, a good place to start for some might be to find out how much your clergy know by taking the time to ask them.

The next step is to find ways to help your clergy become more familiar with mental illness. You may wish to use this sample letter as a way to introduce the topic and to make yourself available as a resource.

For an example of how clergy outreach can be accomplished on the local level, read this article about what NAMI Utah is doing. And if you are providing or are aware of clergy training in your area, please let us know at faithnet@nami.org. We will repeat this survey next year to see what progress has been made.


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