National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

What the Faithful Can Do - Section 2

To Get You Started:                                                                              

As Individuals

  • Learn the facts about mental illness and share them
  • Take one person to your place of worship with you every week
  • Volunteer to drive one or two persons to appointments monthly
  • Hire a special needs neighbor for a household chore
  • Lend your expertise to an activity or help run an event:

            --- if you’re a musician, teach an instrument or lead an ensemble

            ----if you’re a housewife, train one person to cook a meal or iron a shirt

             ----coach a team in your favorite sport

  • Choose a special needs neighbor as a workout partner
  • Invite a member of your congregation who is coping with a psychological disorder to share a family dinner----let them help prepare the meal and clean up
  • Mentor one person learning a new skill
  • Volunteer to raise funds
  • Become a NAMI member and lend your support

As a Committee

  • Form a study group to learn about mental illness
  • Organize car pools to provide transportation for church and appointments
  • Plan a series of  outings for  congregation members and friends who are managing a mental disorder---a hayride in fall, Christmas caroling, bird watching in spring
  • Create a phone directory of neighbors coping with mental illness and call regularly to chat or offer support.
  • Set up religious instruction or a Bible study group specifically for those with special needs.
  • Organize care packages of non-food necessities quarterly   
  • Collect, monitor and disburse a petty cash fund to meet emergencies
  • Set up a community job bank
  • Organize athletic teams, games nights, art projects, poetry readings

As a Congregation

  • Schedule a NAMI presentation to your entire congregation.
  • Adopt a group home or other residential program in your area

               --Assess their specific needs and interact regularly 

               --Fund a specific program, or ongoing expense (Ex: haircuts) for one year

               --Sponsor a capital improvement as a long term goal

  • Donate a car or van to a particular facility or program   
  • Fund a scholarship or a work subsidy for on the job training
  • Tithe an additional half per cent a year to benefit a specific organization
  • Involve people with special needs in as many congregational activities as possible.
  • Include an open prayer for those coping with mental illness in every congregational service