Who are those
with a mental illness?
We are your brother
across the street--
for one in every
is dealing with
a mental illness.
To contact the Chairperson:
The Mental Illness Network
A Network within the
United Church of Christ
in affiliation with
Disabilities Ministries, U.C.C.
Phone: 866-822-8224 ext. 3845
There are a great many things you can do to help the Mental Illness Network to erase discrimination, bust stigma, provide accurate information, and share support. Please consider the following:
- Learn accurate and current information about these mental illnesses.
- Advocate in your church, association, or conference for persons with serious mental illnesses.
- Write to Bob Dell and tell him you will be a key person in your area.
- Write to Craig Rennebohm with an article for the Newsletter about what you, your church, or your community is doing with persons who suffer from these brain illnesses.
- Educate yourself on what severe mental illness is--AND ISN'T.
- Offer help to a family who is living with brain disease. Provide emotional support, understanding, perhaps sitting when needed.
- Do more than be friendly. BE A FRIEND to those who have no friends, for severe mental illness tends to isolate people. Include them in your outings, invite them to a ball game, out to eat after church, or accompany them to church activities.
- Ask for a speaker from the speaker's bureau of mental illness organizations to talk with your church and community organizations.
- Be a STIGMA BUSTER. Object in writing and by telephone when media and gatherings stigmatize mental illness.
- Ask your governing body what your church is doing to make all persons with disabilities, including persons with mental illness, feel welcome and a part of congregational life.
- If you are an employer, hire persons like these for suitable jobs. Their intelligence is not always altered by the illness. (For private employers, there can even be tax advantages.)
- Join an advocacy group to better support the needs of mentally ill persons even if you don't have an ill family member. Be alert to pending legislation regarding the disabled and mentally ill.
- Support funding for research into severe mental illness. At present Americans are spending about the same amount to study tooth decay as for each American with schizophrenia or depression. Research money should not be siphoned off from other serious diseases, but mental illness needs to begin getting its fair share of attention from government agencies and the private citizen.
- Contact the Governor and your State Representatives to let them know you care about services for persons who are mentally ill.
- Volunteer your help in programs serving persons who are mentally ill.
- Contact your local Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Mental Health Association, or local or state agency that works with the mentally ill for programs in your area.
- PRAY for persons who are mentally ill, for those who work to help them--both their families and professionals--and for a better understanding in your church of the concerns of people with mental illness.