National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

How to Rate Your Faith Community

(Adapted from criteria established by the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network – PSMIN)


  1. Does your congregation make a deliberate attempt to welcome and integrate persons with a serious mental illness and their families into the total life and work of the church without being obvious and setting them apart by:
  • Being accepting, friendly, understanding and genuine?      
  • Praying for those who have a mental illness the same way as for other illnesses?
  • Visiting and calling on the mentally ill person and by offering to help in little ways?
  • Offering support and love to the parents family of the ill person, by inquiring about the relative’s health as one would  for anyone who is ill?
  • Listening and talking with the mentally ill person?

2.  Does your congregation use every opportunity to educate themselves and others about mental illness by:

  • Encouraging clergy, lay staff and congregations to learn about mental illnesses?
  • Raising awareness of mental illness in sermons, bulletins, and newsletters.
  • Adding books and other publications to the congregation’s library?
  • Becoming familiar with local mental health services and support groups?

3.   Does your congregation offer its facilities and/or resources to those having a serious mental illness and their families by:

  • Hosting a group of people from a local facility?
  • Sponsoring a support group for them and/or their families?
  • Sponsoring a social club or drop-in-center?
  • Offering employment opportunities?

4.   Does your congregation advocate for people with mental illness by:

  • Working with other churches and organizations, such as the Mental Health Assoc. and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)?
  • Supporting efforts to obtain appropriate housing and jobs?
  • Not letting false, stigmatizing statements about mental illness go unchallenged?
  • Supporting adequate state and local budgets for mental health services?
  • Giving money for research into the causes and cure for mental illness?

5.  Does your congregation undertake a ministry to, ministry with, and ministry by persons with serious mental illness and their families?  Are they invited to serve as officer bearers and on committees?