NAMI FaithNet Advisory Group


Working Together for Common Ministry

Working Together

By Carole Wills, Chair, NAMI FaithNet Advisory Group

None of us has enough wisdom, resources and endurance to meet the complex needs in our world alone. In order to succeed we must join together. Only as a whole will we remain strong.

People in need all over the nation are becoming educated about mental illness due to the efforts of many NAMI leaders in-concert with NAMI Affiliates in communities across the country. They are learning about the role of our diverse faith communities in providing comfort and understanding to those affected by mental illness, and about the availability of NAMI Affiliates and the many programs and resources we offer so that people can get the help they need on their recovery journeys, including families. NAMI FaithNet serves to promote outreach to faith communities while encouraging caring congregations as well as encouraging the role of faith as a component of recovery with those for whom this is important.

NAMI has always sought strong allies with which to partner. And we have always been committed to education as key to our mission. A recent study shows that many seminaries fail to adequately train clergy members to help congregants with mental illness. This year, because most religious leaders desire more education, NAMI, through the efforts of national NAMI FaithNet leadership, is joining hands with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and Pathways to Promise to train seminarians and clergy about mental health issues relevant to their own personal well-being and that of those they serve. The long-range plan is to tap into the resources of other local and national mental health-related organizations and offer six full-day trainings, one each semester for the three years of seminary.

On Oct. 14, 2014, these partner organizations are launching the first pilot Seminary Training Project with a full day conference in Indianapolis at Christian Theological Seminary. Central to this pilot is the educational session, Mental Health Basics for Life & Ministry: What Every Pastor Needs to Know.

The goal of the pilot training project is to raise awareness of mental health issues faced by clergy over their lifetime of ministry, to provide basic skills, models and resources to help equip emerging clergy with the information, understanding and insight they need to respond and refer their congregants affected by mental illness appropriately. Yes, we need each other!

NAMI Affiliate leaders and others who are engaged in seminary training, conferences or workshops of all faiths are encouraged to share this information, in the spirit of NAMI FaithNet. Email to share and help strengthen the work and resources of NAMI FaithNet.

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