Mental Health Ministry Resources


Downloadable Resources

There are numerous resources available to support mental health ministry.  The following annotated links will take you to selected websites and resources. More resources will be added as the project progresses.   

A Dozen Things Your Congregation Can Do in Mental Health Ministry

Twelve Things We Wish You Knew for Pastors and Congregations from People with Mental Illness

Being a Stigma-Free Faith Community, 1 page flier (front and back) produced by NAMI Faith Net. Practical Guide for moving toward a stigma-free culture, which describe the hidden burden and dynamics of stigma surrounding mental health. Presents everyday examples of stigmatizing language and misinformation, and provides alternatives in accessible format: “Instead of . . . Try . . . ”

Comfort My People: A Policy Paper on Serious Mental Illness, with Study Guide (first edition, 2008, downloadable format) is a Presbyterian policy statement on serious mental illness with recommendations for action, stories of the “lived experience” and examples of congregational responses set within a theological framework. A bibliography and study guide are included. A second edition will be ready in time for the General Assembly in 2020. 

Early Serious Mental Illness Guide for Faith Communities.  Kazandjian, M. (2018). Arlington, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. This six-page educational leaflet discusses early psychosis, effective evidence-based treatment, the importance of early intervention, and ways that faith communities can make a difference in recovery. It was prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders with Quick Reference Guide 65 page publication produced by American Psychiatric Association Foundation in 2018. Part I provides an introduction to mental illness, common mental illnesses, suicide, diagnosis and treatment, and recovery and resilience. Part II covers congregations seeking to be more inclusive/welcoming, how/when to make referrals, dealing with resistance to treatment, distinguishing religious/spiritual problems from mental illness, and approaching a person with an urgent mental health concern. Quick Reference Guide is a companion piece. Both available free through Pathways to Promise.

Useful Websites

Interfaith Network on Mental Illness offers tools for faith communities to better welcome, include and support people living with mental illness and their loved ones. 

Mental Health First Aid is a national program that teaches mental health first aid skills to the public. It is an eight-hour course that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders, including the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help to support someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Three types of courses are offered: adult (skills needed to reach out to adults), youth (skills for adults to reach out to youth), and teens (skills for teens to reach out to teen peers). There is a video of a sample training roleplay available on the website. Courses are offered across the country, and the website has a search function to find courses being offered near you. Special trainings for organizations, companies and groups can be arranged.  

Mental Health Ministries, begun by the Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, a Methodist minister living with mental illness, offers a range of educational resources with a focus on the elimination of stigma about mental illness and the creation of caring faith communities.  

NAMI FaithNet is an information resource and network for NAMI members, clergy and people of faith from all traditions. The goal of NAMI FaithNet is to encourage the development of welcoming and spiritually nourishing environments in every place of worship. NAMI FaithNet provides a wide variety of resources, including service planning materials, bulletin inserts and a ready-to-use presentation, Bridges of Hope (,-Training-and-Outreach-Programs/Outreach-and-Advocacy/NAMI-FaithNet/Bridges-of-Hope), to educate faith communities about mental illness so they can create stronger safety nets and welcoming communities for people affected by mental illness. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness. NAMI has chapters throughout the U.S. that equip and train grassroots volunteer facilitators who provide individual and family-to-family support groups. The NAMI website offers a wealth of resources, including mental health statistics, a HelpLine, articles written by people living with mental health conditions, and a special section with resources for faith communities. Through the NAMI HelpLine, volunteers respond with free referrals, information and support. For information about what is available in your community, contact your local NAMI affiliate directly or call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). 

National Institute of Mental Health is the lead federal agency for research on mental health with a comprehensive collection of downloadable resources for the general public and for mental health professionals, including information about specific conditions and evidence-based treatment options, statistical data, and the latest research and clinical trials. 

Pathways to Promise is an interfaith organization offering resources for faith communities, such as liturgical and educational materials, and program models for caring ministries with people experiencing mental illness and their loved ones. 

UCC (United Church of Christ) Mental Health Network offers a wealth of resources for congregations at any stage of mental health ministry, including an introduction to their W.I.S.E. (Wise, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged) program for congregations. The website is continually updated and posts announcements and invitations to regional mental health events and learning opportunities.