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from NAMI FaithNet: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding - October 4, 2011

Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding has been designated as the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is the first full week in October. This year, the date is Oct. 4, 2011. Mental illness networks and faith leaders are urged to work together so that they may recognize and prepare for this day in a way that works best for each faith community. The prayers and actions of both faith communities and secular organizations (e.g. the National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Mental Health Association, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, Anxiety Disorders Association of America , etc.) are needed to restore mental wellness in America. By seeking God's guidance we can recommit ourselves to replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and love in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.

Community Mental Illness Networks.

Below are a number of resources to support your outreach efforts, including:

Getting Your Faith Community Involved

People do care. Somehow we must get the opportunity to communicate to them how important they are in the lives of those affected by mental illness. Celebration of the importance of prayer in recovery from mental illness and in the ability to meet the challenges of having a family member with one of these disorders is an opportunity for our congregations to show their love and concern.

When discussing this special day with your clergy person or lay leader, don't simply ask her or him to do it. Instead, ask what you should do to promote this day in your congregation. Members of the clergy and lay leaders are almost always overworked. They are looking for members of their congregations who are willing to be leaders in ministry.

Ask for the privilege of giving an announcement to your entire congregation concerning Mental Illness Awareness Week and The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. It is great when we have the opportunity to give presentations to those affected by mental illness, but it is much greater when we have the opportunity to speak with those who do not have personal experience with these disorders.

When speaking to your clergy persons and members of your congregation, speak from your heart. Tell them how important your faith and the use of prayer are in your recovery from your mental illness or in your ability to cope with the challenges of having a loved one with one of these "No Fault Disorders."

For certain, prayer is the first step in getting your congregation involved.

Celebration of The Day of Prayer

There is not just one way that this day should be celebrated You are encouraged to do so in a manner in which you and your fellow parishioners are comfortable.

It would be wonderful if you are able to arrange to have a prayer service on the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Equally wonderful would be for your congregation to have a special prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Wellness in a regular worship service during the week of October 2-8, 2008.

Having those with a mental illness and their families lifted up in prayer is important. Prayer does work.

Service Ideas

Hopefully the interfaith bulletin insert and responsive reading copied below will give you ideas for your congregation. Also, please click the link under "Related Resources" to download a document assembled by Mental Health Ministries containing a responsive Prayer of Confession, a Pastoral Prayer, and a litany for a candlelight service.

For additional examples of services please explore NAMI FaithNet's website, particularly the Worship Services and the Faith & Mental Illness pages. Also please explore the all the excellent national networks listed on NAMI Faithnet's Related Links page and particularly the websites of Pathways to Promise, and Mental Health Ministries.

Bulletin Insert Suggestions

Prayer: Margaret Ann Holt, UMC

O, God, we gather here together today, as people from many different faith communities. We come before You, remembering all those persons whose lives have been touched by mental illnesses. We give thanks for those persons here who have given of their time and talents to do what they are able to help persons who are dealing with mental illnesses in their lives and in the lives of their families and friends. We give thanks for the improvement in medication and treatment programs that have enabled persons with mental illnesses to live productive lives. We pray that our society would do everything possible to make early diagnosis and treatment a standard operating procedure. We pray and ask that stigma be removed, so that persons and their families would get the appropriate help as soon as symptoms appear. Guide each one of us, and help us, as we endeavor to bring help and hope to those families and individuals. Amen

Read in unison:

The faith community says to those people who suffer from the symptoms of mental illness, and to their family members:

We will walk with you. And God walks with you. You will not go through this alone.

Pray in unison:

O Lord, you have searched us and known us

You know when we sit down and when we rise up,

and know our innermost thoughts.

You search out our paths and know all our ways.

Before we speak, you know our words.

When we were knit together in our mother's womb

You knew us as woman, as child, as man.

Wherever we go, Your hand will lead us.

So guide us along the pathways to hope,

that night becomes bright as day.

So lead us on our walk together,

that darkness is lifted from our hearts.

So encourage us that our sisters and brothers

Who have mental illness shall know that

they never walk alone.


Day of Prayer Statement of Purpose

  1. All believers are urged to join the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding: A Ministry of Mental Wellness, each year on the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week.
  2. We ask mental illness networks to spread the word and notify faith leaders and members so that they may recognize and prepare for this day in the way that works best for their faith community. Individual prayers, notices in faith bulletins, inclusion in Mental Illness Awareness Week schedules, media articles, radio programming about mental health and recovery, webpage notices with links to mental health information, inclusion in community calendars are examples of what will make this day a success.
  3. We are "seed planters." We look for all people of faith to act, knowing that millions of Americans, from children to seniors, who have a mental illness are in need of love, prayers, and actions.
  4. The prayers and actions of both the faith communities and secular organizations (e.g. NAMI, NMHA, DBSA, OCF, ADAA, etc.) are needed to restore mental wellness in America.
  5. Through prayer, everyone benefits. Prayer reminds our nation that we are part of a larger world of healing, love and care.
  6. Replacing misinformation, blame, fear, and prejudice with truth and love will open doors to recovery and understanding.
  7. The resources of faith support our journeys toward health and wholeness. Spiritual care seeks the well being and welcome of all who suffer mental illness into our life together.
  8. Prayer is a first step, an opening of our hearts and minds.

English and Spanish Resources including: prayer of confession, pastoral prayer, candlelight service, guidelines for organizing a successful conference and conference schedule options

Related Files

National Day of Prayer Resources (Word Document)
National Day of Prayer Resources - Español (Word Document)
Organizing a Successful Conference (PDF File)
Organizing a Successful Conference - Espanol (PDF File)