National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

NAMI FaithNet Newsletter: January 2009

In This Issue:

  • Alone Among Us - Report on the Mental Health Challenges Faced by Hispanics
  • Incorporating Faith and Spirituality in Treatment
  • Sharing Stories, Dispelling Stigma

Alone Among Us - The Mental Health Challenges Faced by Hispanics

Family counselor Jorge Ruiz Chacón follows an ancient path to healing.

He has been counseling mostly Hispanic families in Chelan County since 1994. From his grandmother, a natural healer, Chacón was taught that all illnesses are spiritual, a loss of hope and faith. In college, he learned the same techniques in psychology courses that his grandmother taught him -- just in a different way.

"Even in the domestic violence counseling that I do, the spirituality part is always there," Chacón said.

"In everything I do, I combine the two worlds. It completes the picture for me."

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Incorporating Faith and Spirituality in Treatment

People gathered at the United Church of God and Christ in St. Paul, Minnesota recently to hear personal, and sometimes heart wrenching, stories of those grappling with mental illness.

The night was not only about sharing experiences; it was also an opportunity for the storytellers to network with one another in an effort to create a web of support, especially in minority communities, where people too often fall through the cracks of service.

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Sharing Stories, Dispelling Stigma

When Jeffrey Montague entered the mental health field in the early 1980s, there was an unspoken separation between medicine and spirituality.

However, in recent years, there has been a shift toward using spirituality to treat mental health problems.

Today, Montague heads the faith initiative at the Southeastern Mental Health Authority in Norwich, Conn. Montague answers questions about incorporating faith and spirituality in treatment, and reaching out to other faith communities.

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