Part 4: Nurturing Mental Health Ministry in Your Congregation

In our "Breaking the Silence" program, we suggest offering at least two opportunities for preaching and teaching on mental health throughout the calendar year. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, and May is Mental Health Awareness Month - weekend services around this time may be an appropriate time for engagement, especially as it offers a chance to get involved with other efforts like a local Out of Darkness Walk in support of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Many have also created mental health ministries to further support their congregation throughout the entire year. What works for you will depend on your own unique circumstances, but any step in manifesting hope and healing is cause for praise and celebration. Below, we list several ideas on how to get started.

  1. Read How to be a Congregation That Cares About Mental Health, contributed by our partners at ELCA Southeastern Synod.
  2. Host a book study on one of the books on our recommendations list.
  3. Form small groups of members and friends of your congregation, each with a designated leader, and contact each member a few times a month. Alternatively, broaden the role of your congregational care ministry so that members are contact by several leaders - especially if they are at risk! Make special note of any who are vulnerable and reach out to help them connect to the community.
  4. Read and discuss your denomination's teachings on suicide and mental health (social messages, assembly actions, etc.). Find out what your denomination is doing to support the cause and see how you can get involved.
  5. Include area resources for mental health care in your community materials and bulletin boards. Make sure everyone knows about national and state hotlines like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

more coming soon...


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