Mental Health Ministry survey needs Presbyterian participation


Data collected will be used as basis for future mental health initiatives, recommendations

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Donna Miller, Associate for Mental Health Ministries, spoke a sold-out Compassion, Peace & Justice breakfast at Big tent in Baltimore in August. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Mental Health Ministry is currently conducting a churchwide survey, seeking input from as many people as possible.

“Feedback so far suggests people are glad the surveys are in the field promoting conversations about mental health,” says Donna Miller, Associate for Mental Health Ministries. “The surveys have been designed not just to gather data, but also to raise awareness about resources available at the new Mental Health Initiative website.”

The aim of the surveys is to take a broad look at mental health ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and identify strengths and areas for improvement. Results will be reported to the 224th General Assembly in June 2020, helping to inform future recommendations and initiatives.

The surveys are broken down by participants’ roles in the church and are open through Oct. 31. They are:

While these surveys are in the field, the initial organizational meeting of the Presbyterian Mental Health Network is taking place at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. The network is envisioned as a hub for connection, support, and sharing of resources. It is expected to outlast the two-year mental health initiative mandated in 2018 by the 223rd General Assembly.

Since the announcement of the initiative, the church has seen tremendous interest including a couple meetings earlier in the year, a sold-out breakfast at the Big Tent conference in August and the initial response to this survey.

“We’ve been amazed at the strong response from people wanting to get involved and volunteering to help with this initiative,” Miller says. “People are coming forward wanting to know what they can do. So many people have been affected in some way, whether because of their own struggles, the struggles of someone they know, or mental health needs in their community — sometimes all three.

“They want to help the church become a place where there is no stigma attached to mental health conditions, and people with mental illness and their loved ones feel welcome, respected, included, and supported,” she said.

The Presbyterian Mental Health Ministry is part of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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