by Yolanda H. Ortega
If only my daughter had Faith and Hope, I thought, as I was trying to console her four years ago. She was sobbing uncontrollably. She wanted to take her life. Prior attempts had failed. What was holding her back this time, she said, was her baby girl. She loved Juliet so.
A church can be the well of Faith and Hope for someone with a mental illness and their family. A welcoming and supportive church can offer the hope of brighter tomorrows and the belief that, "God will not let me down." The well may also be the source of faith and hope that treatment works.
During my daughter's first psychosis, a minister offered me hope: "Psychiatrists say there is no cure, no hope that your daughter will get better. Turn to the Great Healer," he said. "He can do anything."
Three years ago we launched an effort in San Antonio, TX, to transform churches into welcoming and supportive places and to have them become part of the safety net. Now, we are working with about 20 churches.
Here are other highlights:
Our goals include:
There are more churches than schools, right? Churches could transform America into a more welcoming and supportive nation. A faith-based, pro-mental health voting block may be possible, too.
After 25 years of episodes that included suicide attempts, self-injury, substance abuse, homelessness, and more than 50 hospitalizations, my daughter is now a content wife and mother. She is a licensed certified nurse's assistant. I counted on Faith and Hope.
Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.Donate today
Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.Share your story
Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.Join NAMI Today