The Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network (PSMIN) welcomes those who advocate in the church and greater community with and for those who have been touched by mental illness. We work for equity, justice, human dignity and full acceptance, inclusion and participation in the life of the church. | PSMIN information card
Serious mental illness can devastate the affected individual, their family and their community. While great strides have been made over the last 100 years, much remains to be done to ensure that every individual with a mood or thought disorder receives the treatment they need and the respect they deserve. The people who are currently reconstituting PHEWA’s Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network (PSMIN) are consumers and caregivers, professionals, and people who simply care.
Part of PSMIN’s strategy involves the establishment of network chapters in congregations or presbyteries who sense a call to this ministry. While a national steering team can do much in the way of resource development and advocacy, lives are touched and hope is reborn in supportive congregational settings
Theological and Scriptural Statement
The source and ministry of PSMIN is in Jesus Christ. He healed mentally ill persons. Jesus called the sick to arise and to take part in their own healing. We are called into community with Jesus for healing, nurturing and enabling wholeness. By God’s grace, each of us helps to heal, nurture and make whole the community of believers.
PSMIN finds its base in the Great Ends of the Church.
- The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind. We are to declare the good news that those with mental illnesses are included in the grace of God and that they have the possibility of wholeness and welcome into the Church and the right to live their lives in the community with full acceptance.
- The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God. It is our special calling to reach out and embrace with God’s love: the homeless mentally ill; all those rejected by family, church and society because of the symptoms of their mental illnesses; the very souls of those who have felt the darkness of deep despair and depression and who may have known a sense of abandonment by God; and all those who kneel to care for such as these.
- The maintenance of divine worship. There can be no divine worship if any are excluded. PSMIN will not rest until every congregation of the faithful has made a place for the children of God who struggle with mental illnesses.
- The preservation of the truth. PSMIN lifts the full throat of its voice in every venue of human life to combat the mindless personal and social prejudices which afflict and destroy the mentally ill. We cry out against the utterly false stigmas and labels of shame, sinfulness, infectiousness and demon possession. We challenge the destructive prejudicial beliefs that persons with mental illness are unemployable and untreatable. We hold up the truth and denounce all social prejudices and stigmas which reject and exclude the mentally ill and their families from all their rightful places in human society.
- The promotion of social righteousness. PSMIN is called to promote justice with and for those with serious mental illness in dealing with systems and providers of mental health services, health insurance, housing and employment. The Church is called to advocate politically and socially for a competent, just and compassionate mental health system and full parity with other illness and wellness care.
- The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world. PSMIN believes the Church should lead in demonstrating by its life welcoming, treating with parity and dignity, and advocating for those affected by serious mental illness. It is also called to educate itself, the Church and the greater community of nation and world about serious mental illness in seeking equity, justice and human dignity for those affected by serious mental illness.
Resources and Articles
PHEWA Community website resources
“Losing Faith, Finding Hope: A Journey With Depression”
By the Rev. Monica A. Coleman, Ph.D.—article in The Huffington Post
Many people describe depression as a kind of intense grief. It is a deep sadness. It’s like heartbreak, agony and despair all at once. I think depression is worse than grief. Grief usually has an identifiable cause. There are stages. People understand why you are sad. It eases with time. I find that depression is more like death. In every depressive episode, something is lost. Sometimes it’s the belief that I’m not that sick. Sometimes it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s a concrete plan or goal. Sometimes it’s who I desperately wanted and expected myself to be. Sometimes it’s a harmful lie I’ve told myself, or that someone told me. Sometimes what dies, needed to go. Most times, it seems I would have been perfectly fine without the loss. I would smile more. I would know how I spent the hours in my day. I would see fewer doctors. When people ask me how I am doing, my response of “fine” would only be a lie thirty percent of the time. Like most people, right? | Read article
“Newtown shooting prompts calls for mental health reform”
Advocates say the USA’s mental health care system is broken. They’re calling for more funding and new legislation to help protect both patients and the public.—article in USA Today | Read article
Presbyterians Today devotes entire issue to challenges of mental illness
Presbyterians Today is the award-winning, general-interest magazine of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Published 6 times a year, it explores practical issues of faith and life, tells stories of Presbyterians who are living their faith and covers a wide range of church news and activities. The October 2012 issue explored mental illness, and we are grateful that PSMIN members were invited to contribute to this edition. Presbyterians Today graciously gave us permission to make several articles from this issue available on the PSMIN/PHEWA websites. To subscribe to Presbyterians Today, click here.
- One in Mission: Ministry and Mental Illness, a message from Linda Valentine
- Through the Dark Valley, Eva Stimson
- The Spiritual Challenge of Mental Illness, Erin Dunigan
- Bible Explorations: God of the Crushed, Teresa Lockhart Stricklen
- Connections: Toolbox Resources
“Comfort My People”
Policy statement on serious mental illness of the 218th General Assembly (2008) | Download statement
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Many resources and activities | Visit website
Also see NAMI’s FaithNet for their “Reaching Out to Congregations” 4-part training program
Pathways to Promise: Putting Faith in Mental Health Recovery
For help in developing a mental health ministry in your congregation and community, go to the Pathways to Promise (P2P) website and find many downloadable mental health ministry training resources.
“The Congregation: A Community of Care and Healing; Mental Illness Awareness Resources”
While this 26 page basic resource manual was last updated in 2000 and is now out of print, this partnership between PSMIN, the then-PC(USA) Office of Human Services, and Pathways to Promise contains much timeless information for getting started in this ministry on a congregational level. Worship aids and education models for the congregation are included. | Download manual