The purpose of Bridges of Hope is to educate faith communities about mental illness so that they can create stronger safety nets and welcoming communities of faith for people affected by mental illness.
Bridges of Hope is a PowerPoint presentation, about 30 minutes in length, with speaker's notes. The timing depends on the speaker’s pace and amount of dialogue that is encouraged by the facilitator. It can be used in its entirety, or in sections, depending on the audience’s familiarity with the subject matter, and time allotment. The main sections include:
- Section I - What is mental illness? How does it impact individuals, families, and communities?
- Section II - What is the role of the faith community in helping people and families touched by serious mental illness?
- Section III - Who is NAMI and what does it offer to individuals, families and faith communities?
Training and Background for Bridges of Hope
This presentation was created for NAMI members and friends who already feel comfortable speaking to community organizations and religious groups. If the speaker does not feel prepared to do this, we strongly recommend reading carefully through the self-guided training power point materials in Reaching Out to Faith Communities - especially if the speaker is not familiar with the unique challenges and questions one may encounter when educating religious groups. Some of the content in Bridges of Hope is similar to that in Reaching Out to Faith Communities, but they are each written for different audiences. Reaching Out to Faith Communities is for training NAMI members Bridges of Hope is for religious groups. Presenters who reach out to clergy and congregations are also encouraged to take either NAMI Family-to-Family or NAMI Peer-to-Peer. These courses, along with studying Reaching Out to Faith Communities, will greatly strengthen the impact and quality of your presentation skills and help you better anticipate questions and concerns when speaking to faith groups.
Preparation for presenting Bridges of Hope to a faith community
NAMI Bridges of Hope Slide Deck
When the opportunity arises and you have been invited to speak to a faith community, we suggest the following additional steps to prepare:
- (Optional) Ask your host or hostess how much mental health education and awareness this congregation already has. What mental health issues have they encountered in the last year—suicides, substance abuse or other crises? What needs do they have individually and as a congregation?
- Find out from your host or hostess how many handouts will be needed. Secure handouts that may include:
- Being a StigmaFree Faith Community
- NAMI brochure(s)
- NAMI fact sheets
- Plan to bring NAMI brochures from your local NAMI Affiliate. Ideally these will list the NAMI support groups in your area, the education courses your NAMI Affiliate offers and how to reach the nearest NAMI contact.
- Fill in the top box of slide 26 (in the Bridges of Hope PowerPoint presentation) with the name and contact information for the nearest local NAMI Affiliate.
- (Optional) Bring a list of local community health centers and a number to call in a psychiatric emergency. Ask your NAMI Affiliate, if necessary, if they already have this information compiled. Be sure to indicate to your audience that NAMI does not recommend any one mental health provider or treatment over another, but encourages individuals and family members to seek treatment based on their own choice of providers and preferences.
- If possible, bring another NAMI member with you to give a 5 minute story about their journey with mental illness and the value of a NAMI program from which they have benefitted, such as NAMI Family-to-Family or NAMI In Our Own Voice (slide 26).. Unit III of Reaching Out to Faith Communities gives instruction on how to tell your story in 2-3 minutes.
- For those new to using power point
- Practice using the Bridges of Hope PowerPoint slides and speaker notes at home, advancing your slides at a comfortable speaking pace. Be certain you know how to reverse the slides if you accidently advance too far.
- The slides alone do not contain the script for the speaker. Make sure you have the script document with you in order to read the speaker’s notes. When printing the document, be sure to select “notes page” from the pull down option under settings after selecting “Print.”
- If you are not familiar with how to use PowerPoint, ask someone to help you. Practice until you know the flow of thought well enough to keep eye contact with your audience.
- Unless you are certain you have someone to help you set up and trouble shoot before the presentation, make sure you ask someone to walk you through these steps. Make notes about connecting and setting up the computer with the LCD projector. Take them along. They may be necessary in a pinch.
- The speaker notes are essential. We recommend that you print out the speaker notes and place them in a thin notebook.
After Your Presentation: Please take a few minutes to give NAMI FaithNet your feedback. You will find the link to a Survey Monkey questionnaire on slide 31 in the PowerPoint presentation.
Thank you for helping to build Bridges of Hope in your community. If you have questions, suggestions or need assistance, please contact the NAMI HelpLine (800) 950-NAMI.