The United Methodist General Boards of Church & Society (GBCS) and Global Ministries (GBGM) have created a new resource for local congregations to observe Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The bulletin insert, “Faith & Mental Health — Creating Caring & Sharing Communities” is available free as a download at umc-gbcs.org/resources-websites.
According to United Methodist resolution Ministries in Mental Illness, “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’” (#3301, The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2012).
The resolution commits United Methodists to the following:
- Learn more about the causes of mental illnesses;
- Advocate for compassion and generosity in the treatment of mental illnesses; and
- Prayerfully lead our congregations to be in ministry, demonstrating the church, as the body of Christ, can work to provide the means of grace that leads to wholeness and healing for all.
The bulletin insert is among a series of new or updated activities and resources addressing mental health that have been created in cooperation between the two agencies. The bulletin insert points out that United Methodists around the world are called to join the “Caring Communities” program in covenant relationship with persons with mental illness and their families. It highlights the five emphases of Caring Communities:
- Educate congregations and the community in public discussion about mental illness and work to reduce the stigma experienced by those suffering.
- Covenant to understand and love persons with mental illness and their families.
- Welcome persons and their families into the faith community.
- Support persons with mental illness and their families through providing awareness, prayer and respect.
- Advocate for better access, funding and support for mental health treatment and speak out on mental health concerns.
This insert provides statistics about mental illness and identifies other mental-health resources, such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Faithnet, Pathways to Promise, an ecumenical mental health coalition, and the United Methodist Committee on DisAbility Ministries.
An important component of the bulletin insert is its emphasis on countering the “stigma” that so often accompanies mental illness.
For more details, contact the Rev. Cynthia Abrams, GBCS director of Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 488-5600, or Patricia Magyar, RN, MPH, UMCOR Health, email@example.com. (212) 870-3871.
More information and resources concerning United Methodist ministries in this area are available at umc-gbcs.org/issues/mental-health.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. Its purpose is to connect the denomination in mission; its vision is to equip and transform people and places for God's mission around the world. It has four mission goals: make disciples of Jesus Christ; strengthen, develop, and renew Christian congregations and communities; alleviate human suffering; and seek justice, freedom and peace.
Director of Communications
General Board of Church & Society
(202) 488-5630 / firstname.lastname@example.org