While the change in the diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illness is undergoing a revolution, the discrimination against persons with such illnesses is still a fact of life.
The Mental Illness Network exists to provide resources so that individuals a congregations may engage in these ministries.
- We believe that education through our churches is one key to changing this discrimination.
- We believe that networking together within the UCC and with similar networks in other denominations and faith groups will help us in our efforts.
- We believe that advocacy for individuals and for social and legislative change will improve the life of many.
- We believe that through our own instrumentality's policies and within our own ministries we can model for the rest of society how to be caring congregations and a compassionate denomination.
UCC General Synod Resolution Regarding Mental Illness
CALLING THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO JUSTICE FOR PERSONS WITH
SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESSES (BRAIN DISORDERS)
There exists in society and even in the church, great stigma and discrimination against persons with serious "mental illnesses" (Brain Disorders); this is both a ministry and a social justice issue.
All people are created in the image of God and worthy of being treated with dignity, respect and love. "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (1 John 13:34-35).
Text of the Resolution
WHEREAS, serious mental illnesses?such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), unipolar disorder (clinical depression), obsessive/compulsive disorder, panic?anxiety disorder?are biological brain disorders and need to be treated as any other biologically?based medical problem of any other organ of the body;
WHEREAS, the 1990's have been declared the decade of the brain and pioneering research has resulted in new knowledge and new effective medications;
WHEREAS, these brain disorders can now be treated as precisely and effectively as other medical disorders (e.g. a higher rate of success in such treatment than for cardiovascular disorders);
WHEREAS, there continues to be strong stigma and discrimination in society against people with these brain disorders in social relationships, health?insurance coverage, employment, etc.;
WHEREAS, there is great inequality in health insurance coverage for these medical conditions compared to coverage of any other physical, medical illness/disorder (diabetes, Parkinson's, etc.);
WHEREAS, at least one in four families (including church families) has a family member with one of these brain disorders;
WHEREAS, at least 30 million Americans, including at least 12 million children have these brain disorders; and
WHEREAS, the church is called to be a community which breaks through fear and isolation to offer love, hope, care and healing;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Twenty-second General Synod requests the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and/or its successor body to make it a priority to educate congregations about these disorders and encourage congregations to be truly inclusive, welcoming churches, ministering with and to persons with these disorders and their families;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Executive Council is requested to petition The Pension Boards?United Church of Christ to provide insurance coverage for these brain disorders equal to any other physical illness; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Office for Church in Society and/or its successor body is requested to promote advocacy in state legislatures and in Congress for equality in health insurance coverage and other anti?discrimination legislation which affects this population of people.
Funding for this action will be made in accordance with the overall mandates of the affected agencies and the funds available.
Resolution of Witness: Requires 2/3 vote for passage.