NBA Mental Health Initiative

Disciples engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries related to mental health and wellness.

As the health and social service general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the NBA takes seriously its call to create communities of compassion and care through dialogue and action centered on issues related to mental health. With hopes to support the prioritization of mental health and wellness in the life of the church, the Mental Health Initiative aims to establish the necessary awareness and understanding required to counter stigma and change the landscape of conversation regarding mental illness and disorders within the church.

“So often we celebrate the many layers of diversity within our denomination, while centering our witness in encouraging the multitude to gather at the table in one spirit. And now, with the leadership of this group, I am excited that we can deepen this articulation of diversity to incorporate the more complex aspects of our humanity, and expand our celebration to lift up the fullness of our testimonies without shame or stigma." --Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager

 

Our Work

The Mental Health Initiative has five main vision areas to do this work:

  1. Cultivate welcoming, educated, and inclusive congregations by countering stigma of mental illness and raising awareness of mental health maintenance and recovery
  2. Provide resources and educational support for Disciples congregations, clergy, seminarians, and community members
  3. Collaborate and connect with existing ministries, social service agencies, organizations, and initiatives promoting mental health maintenance and recovery
  4. Encourage the sustainability and innovation of mental health ministries in congregations, regions, and the general Disciples community
  5. Support clergy mental health and wellness by providing spiritual and wellness care related to disaster and social justice crisis

Resources

Webinar Series

Featuring guest practitioners, clergy, and authors exploring topics such as mental illness stigma reduction, becoming a welcoming church, trauma and immigration, and more.

Mental Health Videos 

Including our 2015 "Mental Health for the Holidays" and 2017-18 "Hope for the Holidays and Winter Seasons of Our Lives" series.

Blog Series

Featuring guest authors exploring topics such as the stigma of mental illness in the church, holding a Mental Health Sunday in your congregation, working with youth with mental health challenges or cognitive differences, mental health challenges in immigrant communities, and more.

eNewsletter

A monthly email featuring stories across Disciples health and social service ministries - sign up here!

Mental Health Affinity Group

As part of the Mental Health Initiative, the Mental Health Affinity Group (MHAG) aims to support ministries of the church by addressing issues related to mental health and congregational life through two working Task Teams.

  • The Liturgical/Theological Resource Task Team gathers, creates, and inspires mental health-focused liturgical resources and theological reflections for congregational worship and education.
  • The Mental Health and Justice Task Team works to address issues of injustice related to mental health services and policies through an advocacy team that will work in collaboration with other NBA Affinity Groups pursuing justice work.

Sign up for one of these working task teams by completing the interest form below!

Our Team

History

In response to General Assembly Resolution GA-1523, “Becoming A People of Welcome and Support to People with Mental Illness and/or Mental Health Issues,” the NBA launched the Mental Health Initiative. Throughout the fall and winter of 2015-16, a Research and Design Team met regularly to define the purpose and goals of this group. Formally launched in May 2016, the Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group was the first part of the overall strategy developed by the Research and Design Team, who continue to serve as an Advisory Team for the Mental Health Initiative. In 2017, the affinity group expanded to a full initiative lead by Angela Whitenhill, who transitioned from convener of the affinity group to manager of the Mental Health Initiative to oversee the breadth and depth of the expansion.

Join Us!

To learn more and get involved, please contact Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager, or fill out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Interest Form
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Areas of Interest
Relevant Skills and Education
support-nba
Mental Health Awareness Month
MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE   |   VIDEO

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Find video, webinar, blogs, and worship resources here from the NBA Mental Health Initiative.

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Building a Congregation-Based Mental Health Ministry
MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE, EDUCATION AND TRAINING   |   VIDEO

Webinar: Building a Congregation-Based Mental Health Ministry

Across the church, faith-filled Disciples are desiring to build mental health ministries in their local congregations. However, mental health and wellness is a broad, multilayered, and complex topic to address in the church. Often, passionate people are left feeling overwhelmed and unclear how to pull it off. Join us as our presenters share the practical realities of starting such a ministry, their discernment process, and what’s next on the journey!

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anonymous-via-angela
MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE   |   VIDEO

SoulCare: A Moment to Pause and Process

As we did at the 2017 General Assembly, we invite you to practice the art of pausing and being present in the moment. We hope these practices can also be take home with you and used in your context, meetings, and worship life.

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MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE, PRISON & JAIL MINISTRIES , EDUCATION AND TRAINING   |   VIDEO

Webinar: Mental Health, the Criminal Justice System, and the Church

This webinar sheds light on the complex relationship between mental health and the criminal justice system and sets the groundwork for the church to think differently about our response to, and relationship with, the prison population.

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MENTAL HEALTH, STORIES

Mental Health in the Church: Being a Prophetic Voice

February 18, 2016

For far too long, the subject of mental health still continues to be taboo in many African-American churches. Mental health has been the forbidden topic in several faith communities. My dream and vision is for the church to truly be a welcoming place for those caught in the throes of mental illness.

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Angela Whitenhill

Mental Health Initiative Manager
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Héctor J. Hernández

Peer Group Convener, Prison and Jail Ministries; Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, Mental Health Initiative