Friday, May 15, 2009

NAMI Helps Train Clergy

"Mental illness is in many ways the leprosy of today." --Rev. James McIntire, Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Germantown

Why does that statement from Rev. McIntire ring true when mental illness is so common that one in four families is affected?

In its continued efforts to reduce stigma, NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania took part in the 2nd Annual Mental Health Training Workshop for Clergy at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

The purpose of the training was to help and encourage clergy, lay leaders and congregations to "minister more effectively to those experiencing mental health challenges."

The first workshop covered important issues such as how families can address a diagnosis, engage the mental healthcare system and understand the effects of substance abuse.

The second workshop addressed the congregation's role in helping families faced with a mental illness. It highlighted a counseling program at Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, which was created to help families affected by mental illness.

NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania presented the third workshop, which focused on family-to-family support within the community. Our Executive Director Chris Michaels, Volunteer Advocate Dick Jevon and Associate Director Debbie Ference presented their personal family stories of mental illness and offered insight, community resources and hope for recovery.

For more information on community resources and mental illness, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website or call (412) 366-3788.