Mental Illness Awareness

WHEREAS, every congregation has one out of four families dealing with issues of mental illnesses;

WHEREAS, when persons of faith deal with these health challenges, they need the support and encouragement of their pastor and their congregation;

WHEREAS, 40% of persons with emotional difficulties turn first to their clergy for help;

WHEREAS, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, and the second leading cause of death ages 25-34, and 90% of those who attempt suicide have a mental illness;

WHEREAS, mental health education and awareness within the congregation can save lives, combat stigma and marginalization of persons touched by mental illness, and enable those with the illnesses within the congregation to feel that they will not be walking alone on their journey with their illness;

WHEREAS, the United Methodist Church has established resources to help congregations become “Caring Communities” for those within their midst with mental illnesses;

WHEREAS, the national observance of Mental Illness Awareness occurs the first week of October each year;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the North Carolina Annual Conference requests that each congregation within the North Carolina Annual Conference lift up the concerns of mental illness in the following ways:

Uplift these concerns in a unison congregational prayer during a worship service in October each year.
Publicize within the church newsletter during the month of October each year the resources for United Methodist mental illness ministries that are available in the Conference Media Center and on-line.
Utilize the video resource “Creating Caring Congregations” during the year.

We further request that the United Methodist Children’s Home host a conference on mental illness, calling together all pastors and laity in the conference currently involved in mental health ministries; public or private care; and policy and financing. Further, that the Secretary of Human Services Office of North Carolina be invited to participate.