Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

ACT ministries offers mental health resources for parishes, individuals

the Inland Register

(From the March 19, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Mental illness is an equal-opportunity disrupter. It wreaks havoc with the aspirations and goals of those who struggle with mental illness. It has the power to disrupt families. Isolation, fear, social stigma and chaos all too often are part of the “baggage” carried by the sometimes wild ride of mental illness.

Wholeness, self-respect, unconditional love, acceptance, belonging to family and community: these and many more dimensions of a healthy human and spiritual life are threatened by mental illness.

“Faith, Families, and Mental Illness” is a five-week series for persons who struggle with mental illness, their friends and families. Topics will include:

• The role of faith in affirming: “I am so much more than this mental illness, which is only one part of my rich life.”
• Education about the causes and symptoms of mental illness.
• Skills and strategies that reflect best practices in managing symptoms of mental illness.
• Dialogue with family members and friends about messages of unconditional love and support.
• Practice skills and strategies that maintain balance in life.
• Learn to recognize the progression of symptoms from early warning signs to full-blown crisis, and effective interventions for each stage.
• Practice communication skills that promote honest, supportive dialogue.

“Faith, Families, and Mental Illness” will be offered through All Come Together (ACT) Ministries on the grounds of St. Joseph Family Center, 1016 N. Superior, Spokane, on five consecutive Wednesdays, beginning April 22 and concluding May 20. The fee is $25 per person for the series. Fees can be paid per session, and will be waived upon request for anyone who has a financial hardship.

The workshop is available as well for presentation on-site for parishes and other faith communities. For information and registration, contact Marian Beaumier, 483-0428.

Additionally, ACT Ministries offers resources for parishes who are interested in creating “intentional communities” – support and encouragement groups for people who struggle with mental illness. The support group offers friendship, belonging, and encouragement along the road to recovery.

Members of the support group provide assistance in any number of ways – appointments, recreation, socializing, appropriate crisis support, and so on.

ACT Ministries will facilitate two orientation sessions for all members of a beginning intentional community. For information about forming an intentional community, or if you or someone you love has a chronic mental illness and would benefit from an extended network of support, contact Beaumier at ACT.

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