National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

NAMI FaithNet Newsletter: January 26, 2007

In this issue:

  • First Person: A Child's Illness, A Mother's Faith
  • Grassroots Strategy: Clergy Training
  • Faith Group Seeks Feedback on Study Guide
  • Wanted: Interfaith Resources

First Person: A Child's Illness, A Mother's Faith

In an article on this week, Dilshad D. Ali writes about the impact of her young son's autism on her faith as a Muslim, and how in reconnecting with her faith she found new hope and strength for living with the illness.

She writes:

"Each family of an autistic child has a wrenching diagnosis story to tell, the horrible time when they learned that their child was autistic and might never speak, might never make friends, might never learn to be independent, might never learn, period. The spectrum of autism (it goes from mild to severe) is so wide. I think most parents initially teeter between disbelief and despair, clinging to the notion that, OK, we’ll work very hard for a few years and my kid will beat this…

"As traumatic, agonizing, tiring, and joyful (yes, there have been joyous moments) as our autism journey with our son has been, there's one thing I can thank autism for--fighting it has invigorated my faith and has made me a better Muslim."

Read the full article on

Grassroots Strategy: Clergy Training

As in other metropolitan areas, thousands of residents in the Kansas City-area suffer from depression. Many seek help first from a member of the clergy, rather than a mental health specialist.

At the same time, religious leaders have indicated they need help in understanding and addressing depressive disorders affecting both their congregants and the clergy themselves.

In response to these trends, the Center for Practical Bioethics and the Mental Health Association of the Heartland are sponsoring a conference in February to train faith leaders to support congregants struggling with depression. Read more… 

Faith Group Seeks Feedback on Study Guide

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) is accepting feedback on a new study guide examining serious mental illness.

The 24-page study document - Serious Mental Illness: Seeking a Comprehensive Christian Response - is aimed at getting the entire PC(USA) engaged in a comprehensive study of serious mental illness.

"We are aware that many individuals and congregations face mental illness issues without having ways to talk about them in a Christian context," said the Rev. Belinda M. Curry, ACSWP's associate for policy development and interpretation.  "This feedback will help ACSWP as it develops policy principles and recommendations to strengthen the PC(USA)'s efforts to minister more effectively and compassionately to persons living with mental illness and their loved ones in the 21st century."  Read more… 

Wanted: Interfaith Resources

The mission of NAMI's FaithNet is to support people of all religious faiths in mental illness outreach, education, and advocacy. In order to fulfill that mission, we need information and resources from a broader variety of faith traditions than we currently have.

If you are aware of materials, publications, events, Web sites, or persons that address mental illness from a faith perspective, please let us know about them by replying to this newsletter or e-mailing This might include articles, sermons, blogs, presentations, courses, newsletters, etc. We need you to be our eyes and ears so we can truly support the entirefaith community.

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