ARLINGTON,Va., March 27, 2014 -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today characterized as "nationally significant" the major "Gathering on Mental Health and the Church" being held in Orange County, Calif. on March 28.
The evangelical Saddleback Church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and NAMI Orange County, the local NAMI Affiliate, are co-sponsoring the event, aimed at encouraging individuals living with mental illness, educating family members and equipping church leaders to provide effective, compassionate ministry to those who confront mental illness.
"The Gathering will focus on individuals and families in the Orange County community, but it is nationally significant as a model for outreach that unifies spiritual inspiration with mental health needs. It also represents a powerful trumpet call for an end to stigma," said NAMI national executive director Mary Giliberti.
NAMI maintains a national FaithNet program that works with religious leaders and communities of different denominations. In addition, within the Catholic Church, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) Council on Mental Illness provides training & resources that implement faith-based education to all religious leaders and communities.
Keynote speakers at the Gathering will be Pastor Rick Warren and Kay Warren of the Saddleback Church, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Orange and Steve Pitman, president of NAMI Orange County.
The Gathering comes a week before the first anniversary of the death of the Warrens' son, Matthew, who took his life on April 4, 2013 after a lifelong struggle with mental illness and marks their first initiative to help fight stigma.
Nationwide, NAMI offers several programs to educate and support individuals and families affected by mental illness, including:
Family and Peer Education
Family and Peer Support
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
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