“We believe that faithful Christians are called to be in ministry to individuals and their families challenged by disorders causing disturbances of thinking, feeling and acting categorized as ‘mental illness.’ We acknowledge that throughout history and today, our ministries in this area have been hampered by lack of knowledge, fear and misunderstanding. Even so, we believe that those so challenged, their families and their communities are to be embraced by the church in its ministry of compassion and love.” — 2016 Book of Resolutions 3303
Mental Health Task Force
“The United Methodist Mental Health Task Force’s mission is to promote mental health and empower persons living with mental illness for full inclusion within all levels of the church and society through a network of communication, education, program development, advocacy and support.”
In early 2020, at the urging of Susan Gregg-Schroeder, founder of Mental Health Ministries, the United Methodist Mental Health Task Force was formed. There was no existing United Methodist entity dedicated to equipping church leaders and congregations for ministry with people who have mental illness. With 1 in 5 people experiencing mental illness each year and 50% of the population receiving a diagnosis sometime in their lives (Learn About Mental Health – Mental Health – CDC), it is a certainty that people with mental illnesses are already in our congregations and in our pulpits as well as in the communities we serve. The formation of this Task Force took place in response to this great need.
We are finding and creating resources and advocating for greater awareness and education about mental illnesses. Our goal is to provide you with the tools you need. This webpage will grow in usefulness as our work continues. Please check back often and feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question or a specific need. This will help us set priorities for our work.
Task Force Resources:
The Voice, which has long been the DisAbility Ministries Committee’s newsletter, is now dedicating four issues a year to mental health topics such as the effects of a pandemic on mental health, suicide prevention, and PTSD. If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up in the sidebar of this page.
Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service resources can be found at Prayers and Litanies – Disability Ministries of the United Methodist Church (umcdmc.org)
Prayer for Mental Health Recovery and Awareness Day (with inclusive language) by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Changing our Attitudes Toward Mental Health, a blog by Rev. Dave Barnhart, is posted at Dave Barnhart (wordpress.com)
Faith & Leadership, from UMC-related Duke University, has some resources such as Ministers Cannot Thrive if they Neglect Themselves
Mental Health Ministries continues to be our partner. Many, many great resources and tools are posted at www.mentalhealthministries.net, including the current and archived MHM newsletters. Please see more information below.
Other United Methodist Resources
Resources from the General Board of Church and Society
- 2016 Book of Resolutions – Ministries in Mental Health Theological Statement
- May is Mental Health Month
- Mental Health Faith and Facts Card
- Mental Health Bulletin Insert
Resources from the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship
- Resources for Mental Illness Awareness Week in October
- Mental Health Worship Resources
- Resources for Mental Illness Awareness Week in October
- Trauma Resources for Ministry with Children and Families
- Youth and Mental Health
- Mental Health in the Pandemic
Mental Health Ministries
The magnitude of mental illness in this country is staggering. According to the Surgeon General, one in every five Americans experiences a mental disorder in any given year and half of all Americans have such disorders at some time in their lives. These illnesses of the brain affect all of us, regardless of age, gender, economic status or ethnicity. Nearly every person sitting in the pews has been touched in some way by mental illness. Individuals and families suffer in silence or stop coming to church, because they are not receiving the support they desperately need. They become detached from their faith community and their spirituality, which is an important source of healing, wholeness and hope in times of personal darkness. THERE IS HOPE!
Mental Health Ministries is a web-based ministry to provide educational resources to help erase the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities. There are a wide variety of user friendly downloadable print resources including brochures, bulletin inserts, resource guides, books, resources on suicide prevention and links to national groups addressing spirituality/faith and mental illness. Congregations can choose from this “menu” of resources and adapt them to the unique needs of their faith community. There are also videos that cover a wide range of subjects and can be used in workshops or small group studies.
Mental Health Ministries was founded by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder after a series of events led to severe depression and hospitalization in 1991. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, Susan realized the need to educate faith leaders and congregations about serious mental illness. The “Caring Congregations” five step model of education, commitment, welcome, support and advocacy is based on the Caring Communities resolution passed by the GBCS in 1993. Currently, Deaconess Sharon McCart is the MHM liaison to the Disability Ministries Committee.
You can sign up to receive the Mental Health Ministries e-Spotlight newsletters. Our current e-Spotlight is also posted on our website.
Mental Illness and Families of Faith
Mental Illness strikes one in four families. When a family member has a mental illness, the whole family is affected. One’s faith can be a source of comfort and hope.