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Mental Health Ministry

Mental health concerns affect about one in four people nationwide. Despite this prevalence, discussion has long been pushed aside in churches and society as a whole. Some of this comes from attitudes that God will heal anyone with faith. Attitudes such as this lead to stigma and lack of treatment.

People with mental health conditions have long been shunted off to the corners of society. Treatment involved restraint, physical punishment, and crowded conditions. Even today, our jails are often used as de facto treatment centers, and many homeless people have mental health needs.

Just as we believe that all church facilities should be physically accessible and inclusive, we believe that God calls us to welcome every person. God also calls us to care for each other, and research indicates that more than half of those facing a challenge turn first to clergy or other church sources for assistance.

Committee Resources


  • Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Resource Center
  • Body Anatomy & Church Health, includes resources on Wesleyan theology and approaches to mental health
  • Church4EveryChild, focus on children with mental illness or trauma and their families
  • Interfaith Network on Mental Illness
    • Caring Clergy Project
    • Faithworks Connection Online Directory
  • Mental Health Ministries
  • National Association on Mental Illness
  • Pathways to Promise
  • United Church of Christ Mental Illness Network
    • Widen the Welcome Network
  • Fire/EMS Helpline

Mental Health and Theology

  • Continuing the Mental Health Conversation, recording and discussion of a webinar presented by CRCNA on March 15, 2016
  • Alec Bleher, "Mental illness: the Christian perspective" Clause, March 5, 2014
  • G. Jeffrey MacDonald, "Let's Get Real: Pastors Open Up About Mental Illness" Publisher's Weekly, January 29, 2014.


  • What is depression? a TED-Ed video (captioned)
  • Resources on recognizing, referring, and similar topics from the Caring Clergy Project
  • Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, community and individual resources and education
    • Creating Welcoming Mental Health Work Environments, a welcome and support guide
    • Recovering Liberty, a newsletter issue addressing imprisonment, mental illness, and social reintegration
  • Community Conversations About Mental Health Discussion Guide from SAMHSA Adobe PDF

Mental Health in the Media

  • Owen Davis, Why tackling socioeconomic inequality is key to solving mental health crisis, Newsweek, August 4, 2016
  • Martha White, "What to Do If You Suspect a Coworker Is Struggling With Depression" Money, May 2, 2016
  • Jenny Gold, "Mental Health Cops Help Reweave Social Safety Net in San Antonio", PBS
  • Dr. Lloyd Sederer, "When mental illness enters the family" a TEDx Albany talk
  • The biological roots and effects of depression, a lecture by Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University
  • Kelly Wallace, "When mental illness affects your family", CNN, August 13, 2014
  • S. E. Smith, "A Nightmare of Prison Mental Health" Disability Intersections, February 14, 2012
  • Andrew Cohen, "An Experiment in Atlanta May Transform Care of Mentally Ill Prisoners" The Atlantic (online), February 11, 2014
  • "The Stigma of Raising a Mentally Ill Child" 60 Minutes, January 26, 2014 (uncaptioned video)
  • Julie Beck, "Diagnosing Mental Illness in Ancient Greece and Rome" The Atlantic (January 2014); history of theories, treatment, and growth of stigma.

Tim Vermande, August 2016