Mental Health Awareness
An Initiative by FPC Deacons
During October, several national organizations recognize mental health awareness. The Deacons of FPC, in our desire to provide Compassionate Ministry to this congregation and community, have added a mental health education and awareness component to our work.
We know this is a serious issue that affects us all. One in five adults will experience mental illness this year. We want to help fight its stigma, while educating ourselves and the congregation.
Here’s a link to an example of how we the church can respond to the need for mental health awareness and action.
from “Mental Health Stigma: Society, Individuals, and the Profession” by Brian K. Ahmedani, Ph.D., MSW
When a person is physically ill, it is expected that they will be supported and treated sympathetically in their quest for healing. When one has a long-standing, disabling illness or injury, it is expected that they will be given every assistance and consideration as they cope with their limitations and any ensuing hardships. Not so with mental illness. Not only must those who are diagnosed with a serious mental illness cope with the illness as such, but they, and their families, must also shoulder the additional burden of the nearly overwhelming presence of stigma.
Stigma is a mark of shame, disgrace, or disapproval; it is a sign that one is different from others and should be rejected because of that difference. “Stigmata” were literally cut or burned onto the bodies of “different” individuals in ancient Greece and they were shunned. Today stigma takes the form of negative, inaccurate stereotypes, ostracism, and cruel, ignorant humor. Stigma prevents ill persons from seeking treatment in a timely fashion. It diminishes public support for funding of necessary and appropriate services for the mentally ill. It prevents persons who are in recovery from finding meaningful and secure employment and acceptable housing. Stigma enables the insurance industry to impose a lifetime limit on the number of days for inpatient treatment. It contributes to cruelty in our criminal justice system. Stigma precludes persons with mental illness from seeking and receiving the gift of community and, most importantly, it denies to those who live with mental illness God’s gift of hope.
Need a listening ear, a referral, or just to know you’re not alone? Our deacons are here to offer compassionate care.
Preston Blackburn, Vice-Moderator
Katie Morgan, Moderator
Contact Rev. Mary Kay Collins to connect
Mental Health Resources
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
Mental Health America of Virginia
Mental Health America of Virginia has a peer-run warm line for individuals, families or other concerned parties who would like someone to talk to or who would like mental health resources or have specific questions about a recovery journey. A Warm Line is not a Hotline; individuals in crisis should contact a hotline.
1-866-400-MHAV (6428) Mon-Fri 9am-9pm and Sat-Sun 5pm-9pm
National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH)
A division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which has available educational and informational literature, videotapes, posters and public service announcements.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
1-800-950-6264 – National
www.nami.org – National
804-285-1749 – Central Virginia NAMI
namicva.website – Central Virginia NAMI
American Psychiatric Association
Learn about common mental disorders, including symptoms, risk factors and treatment options. Find answers to your questions written by leading psychiatrists, stories from people living with mental illness and links to additional resources.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
Virginia Health Care Foundation
Virginia Health Care Foundation offers a list of links to guides on: Suicide Awareness, Student Stress and Anxiety, Addiction in College, Eating Disorders, Self-Injury, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Disorders and Schizophrenia, ADHD, Sleep Issues, College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities, A Comprehensive Overview of Mental Health Disorders, and VAaware’s CurbTheCrisis opioid crisis prevention and treatment.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
In recognition of the continued relevance of mental health and the need to advance and expand mental health ministries, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) adopted a two-year Mental Health Initiative (Item 10–11) on the 10th anniversary of Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness (2008). The Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry within the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is responsible for facilitating implementation and reporting back to the next General Assembly (in 2020).