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         Mental Illness
                    & Spirituality

‘Out of the depths


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in loving memory of

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Vale June Wood Details

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RITUALS & WORSHIP RESOURCES ON THEMES OF MENTAL HEALTH

“Those working in mental health services should:

FROM: The impact of spirituality on mental health. A review of the literature 2006 (p.5) – by Dr Deborah Cornah on behalf of The Mental Health Foundation (UK)



“1) People with mental illness and their families need the ongoing support of the Faith Community as well as professional help. The Faith Community can make a real difference in people’s lives when it reaches out and continues to support individuals and families affected by this disease.


2) Incorporate into intercessory prayer at worship services specific prayers for those suffering with schizophrenia, manic depression, anxiety disorders etc. This lets the Faith Community know that the community prays and cares for people with mental illness. The prayer sends the welcoming message to those who suffer with mental illness and to their family members that their community supports them.


3) Preach on the subject. Include references to persons with mental illness and their issues in homilies about social justice, caring for the poor, discrimination, and compassionate outreach to others. Avoid words or phrases in all sermons and communications that add to stigmatizing those who have mental illness.


4) Let Faith Community members know that their leaders and/or ministers want to visit people with mental illness when they are hospitalized. A hospitalization for mental illness is a traumatic time for the person and their family. It is an important time for ministerial presence. As for any major disease, the individual and family will have questions about God, faith, and “why me.” Ministerial presence and support will help them to understand and accept that this disease of the brain is not a punishment from God and not due to lack of faith.


5) Give the peace and justice ministry the opportunity to get involved in the systemic problems that affect persons with mental illness.


9) Healing prayer and services, e.g. Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, for illnesses should include mental illnesses. This gives a sign to the community that all forms of illnesses are included in the Faith Communities care and concern. Faith Communities have to be particularly sensitive in this area as there is a history of misguided prayer in the past. Mental illness is not demon possession or God’s specifically giving us a cross to bear or God’s lack of love for us. It is a disease like any other disease. The healing prayer should reflect the biological nature of the illness just like any other disease. We should pray for a healing and continue with sound medical practices.”


FROM: Mental Illness And Faith Community Outreach (pp. 6-7) - By Deacon Tom and Rita Lambert. Archdiocese of Chicago, Commission on Mental Illness and Faith and Fellowship for People with mental illness.





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