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FaithNet Newsletter: July 3, 2008

In this issue:

  • National Tribute
  • July 4:  Stand with NAMI, Support Our Veterans
  • African American Faith-Based Education Initiative
  • Creating Caring Congregations
  • Breaking the Silence in Faith-Based Schools
  • Duke University Offers Summer Research Workshops
  • Erase the Stigma Conference at National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

National Tribute

July marks the first annual observance of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, recently established by Congress. Bebe is considered one of the foremost African American novelists of the 20th century, and before her death in 2006, served as a national spokesperson for NAMI. She was a founder of NAMI California’s Urban Los Angeles affiliate and an instructor in its Family-to-Family education program.

July 4: Stand with NAMI, Support Our Veterans

Independence Day is a day to celebrate our country's freedom. But on this day, like every day, thousands of veterans and active service members are affected by mental illness.

You can help. Make a donation online and add your name to NAMI's Veterans Tribute Honor Roll. You may also make your gift in tribute to a veteran, active duty service member, or other loved one, and include a message of support for display on the Honor Roll.   Your contribution will show our men and women in uniform whose lives are affected by mental illness that they are not alone, and that their fellow Americans stand with them.

African American Faith-Based Education Initiative

MaJose Carrasco, director of the NAMI Multicultural Action Center, moderated a dialogue about NAMI’s African American Faith-Based Initiative at the NAMI national convention in June. 

Understanding the integral role of faith and spirituality in African American communities, NAMI is working with faith leaders, consumers and family members to educate different faith cultures about mental illness. These efforts are designed to help decrease stigma and ultimately allow more people to get the help and community support that they need. To accomplish this goal, NAMI's Multicultural Action Center is working on a  plan to develop a culturally competent mental health education toolkit that can be used in faith communities.

Joe Powell, executive director of Association of Persons Affected by Addiction, spoke of his successful outreach efforts with African American churches in Dallas. Powell also stressed the importance of addressing co-existing disorders, such as alcohol abuse and drug addiction. Workshop participants shared their personal stories of challenges and successes working within and reaching out to African American faith communities.

NAMI welcomes suggestions of past and current successful models and key issues that should be considered during the development and implementation of this initiative.

Please send input

For additional information on the initiative, visit NAMI's Multicultural Action Center online .

Creating Caring Congregations

At the 2008 NAMI national convention in June,Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, coordinator of Mental Health Ministries, led a workshop on “Mental Illness and Families of Faith: Creating Caring Congregations.”

Rev. Gregg-Schroeder walked participants through a five-step program designed to help congregations start or expand a ministry that welcomes individuals living with mental illness and their families. Some suggested efforts include contacting a local NAMI In Our Own Voice presenter to share their story with your congregation or hosting a Family-to-Family class at your church. By educating both clergy and lay people, faith communities can help to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness.

The Creating Caring Congregations DVD is available online .

Breaking the Silence in Faith-Based Schools

As we know, mental illness does not discriminate; it affects people of all ages, races and religions. We also know that people living with mental illness and their families often turn to clergy in time of crisis. FaithNet has agreed to work with NAMI Queens/Nassau to bring mental illness education to our faith-based classrooms with Breaking the Silence.

Breaking the Silence (BTS)is a program owned and operated by NAMI Queens/Nassau. In 1991 three veteran teachers, who are also mothers of children with mental illness and NAMI members, developed BTS to teach students about mental illness. Innovative teaching packets for upper elementary, middle and high school students contain lessons, games, stories and posters that combat the stigma, promote tolerance, and separate fact from fiction. These packets have been distributed by NAMI Queens/Nassau to schools nationwide, reaching as far as England, Mexico and Australia

At this time, we want to assess your interest in receiving free copies of BTS to be used in your religious, parochial school classrooms. We are not asking for a commitment; we simply would like to assess how many BTS packets would be needed.  If interested, please send the following response to Amy Lax at

YES, I am interested in receiving free copies of BTS. If possible, please indicate how many packets you might want/need and if you are a teacher, a clergy member, parent…and how you will use BTS. Any additional comments are always welcome. For more information, visit the Breaking the Silence web site.

Duke University Offers Summer Research Workshops

July 21-25, 2008 and August 11-15, 2008

The Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center will offer summer workshops thatcompress a two-year post-doctoral fellowship into five days. It is the only place in the world where specific training on how to conduct research on religion, spirituality and health can be obtained from people who have been active in the field for nearly 25 years.   

Due to the intense nature of this training that includes individual mentorship, workshops are limited to 20 participants each.There may be limited scholarships available for those demonstrating extreme need and promising academic careers, and would be awarded on a competitive basis.

It is important to register early.  More information on the workshops and registration can be found online .

Erase the Stigma Conference at National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

August 22–23, 2008

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows will host the annual Erase the Stigma of Mental Illness Conference in August, which focuses on mental illness and spirituality.

Dr. Bryce Sullivan, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Belmont University, and Fr. Joe Nassal, CPPS, Leadership Team for the Kansas City Province Congregation of the Most Precious Blood, will be the keynote speakers.

Our Lady of the Snows is located in Belleville, Illinois, 15 minutes east of downtown St. Louis. Registration requested by August 8, 2008.

For additional information, visit the web site  or contact Judy Williamson at 618-394-6270 or

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