Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members

Mental Health Ministry

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40: 1

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Mental Health Initiative for 2019–20

In recognition of the continued relevance of mental health and the need to advance and expand mental health ministries, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) adopted a two-year Mental Health Initiative (Item 10–11) on the 10th anniversary of Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness (2008). The Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry within the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is responsible for facilitating implementation and reporting back to the next General Assembly (in 2020).  A copy of this report with recommendations for further action(Action Item E.201) is now publicly available and will be considered at the February meeting of the PMA Board.

Components include:

Mental Health Ministry Grant Program–$250,000 spread over 2019 – 2020

This new grant program provides “seed money” for Presbyterian congregations, mid councils and seminaries to initiate or advance mental health ministries that educate, equip and empower churches to reach out to and with, people living with mental health conditions and their loved ones:  

  • To expand mental health awareness, understanding of mental health issues and advocacy for mental health services. 
  • To eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, especially serious mental illnesses.
  • To become more welcoming, inclusive and supportive faith communities for people living with mental health challenges. 

For more information about the grant program and grant application materials, click here

Churchwide Study 

A churchwide mental health study was conducted by Research Services in October 2019 for the purpose of developing an overall picture of mental health ministry in the  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),  identifying areas of strength and need, and laying afoundation for further action.

There were 6000 responses to the mental health study with nearly 4000 responses from ministers and over 2000 individual comments. Overall the study showed that members, leaders, and ministers want to address issues of mental health, but many do not feel well-equipped and want to learn more. Reports on the findings for each demographic group can be downloaded below.

The mental health initiative also called for a report back to the next General Assembly with recommendations for specific activities to focus and enhance mental health initiatives in congregations, mid-councils, and seminaries based on findings from the study. This has been prepared by Mental Health Ministry staff and is being considered at the February meeting of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. Click on Action Item E.102 below for a copy of this report. 

Production of Second Edition of Comfort My People: A Policy Paper on Serious Mental Illness, with Study Guide (first edition, 2008) 

Feedback and suggestions are being sought in the review process for the second edition from as wide an audience as possible. To download a copy of the first edition of Comfort My Peopleclick here

Churchwide Mental Health Network 

This network will be a hub for connection, support and sharing of resources among individuals, congregations, mid councils and seminaries engaged in mental health ministry. It is envisioned that the network will outlast the two-year Mental Health Initiative and become an ongoing resource to the denomination.  

There are several ways you can get involved now: 

  • Please complete this network sign-up form to be added to the network email list and receive communications about the network as it develops.
  • Browse this website for more information and resources to use and share with others. 
  • Leave a message or share a story about mental health ministry here.
  • Consider applying for a mental health ministry grant