National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

NAMI FaithNet Newsletter: May 2009

In This Issue:

  • A Gesture of Faith
  • Bridging the Clergy, Counseling Gap
  • Offering of Optimism and Motivation
  • This is Your Brain on Religion

A Gesture of Faith

In the spring issue of the NAMI Advocate magazine, NAMI Montana executive director Matt Kuntz offers a moving account of his conversation with President and Mrs. Obama on his Inaugural Train. This meeting on veterans mental health needs followed up on last year's campaign meeting.

I told them that I had brought something for them. Michelle Obama looked stunned and said "You brought something for me?"

I reached inside my coat and took out two religious medals. I explained that the first one was a St. Therese of Liseux medal-she is the patron saint of my mother's family. I told the president-elect that St. Therese had helped us through plenty of hard times and he might want to ask her a little help when his road looked rough. The second one was a St. Michael the Archangel medal for Michelle to help protect their family.

We depend on the president, governors, and other elected officials for leadership. Even small spiritual moments have a power that can affect leaders in crisis or the course of events, sometimes in ways we never will know or understand.

Bridging the clergy, counseling gap

Clergy Bridge, a program designed to help the Utah County community, aims to shorten the gap between professional mental health care services and clergy of all religious denominations.

Clergy Bridge provides spiritual advisors with training and materials to better administer to the needs of individuals by connecting clergy with mental health resources in the community. There are two expected outcomes of this project: first, people in the religious community will have access to more mental health services. Second, the project hopes to build better relationships between clergy and the social service community.

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Offering Optimism and Motivation

Former major league pitcher Dave Dravecky and his wife founded a ministry, Outreach of Hope, which offers encouragement and resources to people living with cancer or depression.

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This is Your Brain on Religion

Want to build a better brain? Ramp up your spiritual practice, says Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania. Meditation and prayer can improve your physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being and may even slow the brain's aging process.

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