NBA Mental Health Initiative

Support for 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. In doing so, the NBA has been called to engage in dialogue and action centered on issues related to mental health.

Our Work

The Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group, launched in May 2016, serves as a network of support for Disciples congregations and communities engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries with those affected by mental illness and/or mental health disorders. Throughout the fall and winter of 2015-16, a research and design team met regularly to define the purpose and goals of this group. With hopes to impact life across the church, the Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group (MHAG) has four main vision areas centered on mental health maintenance and recovery:

  1. Counter stigma of mental health challenges to help cultivate a welcoming, educated, inclusive church
  2. Provide resources and educational support for Disciples congregations, clergy, seminarians, and community members
  3. Collaborate and connect with existing ministries, organizations, and initiatives
  4. Encourage the sustainability of mental health ministries in congregations, regions, and the general church.

To fulfill each vision area, the MHAG aims to support ministries of the church in becoming adept at identifying and addressing issues related to mental health and congregational life, through webinars, workshops, monthly blogs, and resources posted to the website. An emphasis will be put on gathering, creating, and inspiring mental health-focused liturgical resources and theological reflections for congregational worship and education. The MHAG also aims 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 pursing justice work.

Additionally, the MHAG looks to support and partner with regional leadership, to accompany the regional church in efforts to prioritize clergy wellness, and offer specialized resources promoting clergy mental health.

Stories and Resources

As the Mental Health Initiative expands this year, you can continue engaging with us in a variety of ways, including:

“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 Team

Our Partners

The Mental Health Initiative is a shared effort with Disciples Home Missions, in response to the passing of Resolution GA-1523 “Becoming A People of Welcome and Support to People with Mental Illness and/or Mental Health Issues” by the 2015 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Stay tuned for more information as the Initiative expands throughout the year. We look forward to deepening our partnerships and shared work throughout 2017!

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
( ) -
Area of Interest
Degree of Involvement
Relevant Skills and Education

Webinar: Becoming a Welcoming Church: Creating Safe Boundaries for Congregations Serving Those with Severe Mental Health Issues

April 27, 2017

This webinar will explore ways clergy, religious leaders and congregations can incorporate the necessary assessments, boundaries, and practices to ensure their place of worship is truly welcoming and safe for ALL.

Read More
Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager

Expanding the Mental Health Initiative with New Manager Position, Additional Programs and Resources

February 09, 2017

NBA is expanding its mental health and wellness efforts into a fuller Mental Health Initiative (MHI), in partnership with Disciples Home Missions, with Angela Whitenhill serving as Manager.

Read More

2017 Connect Webinars

March 1, 2017

The NBA offers an annual series of webinars presented by the Mental Health Initiative and the Prison & Jail Ministries Affinity Group. Check back for more information and registration details throughout the year!

Read More

Mental Health for the Holidays

This holiday season, the National Benevolent Association would like to offer a few tips on mental and emotional health.

Learn More

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.

Read More

NBA Response to Crisis and Trauma

July 9, 2016: The violence and tragedies of this past week have us, at the National Benevolent Association, in deep sorrow and prayer. Our mission statement reminds us that we as a ministry are to follow God's call to advocate for the well-being of all humanity and to accompany one another in the creation of communities of compassion and care. And yet, as people of faith, we know that in our connections and belonging to one another as community we can, should, and will continue to nurture healing and forge ahead ways of peace and justice. View resources, reflections, and videos here.

Learn More

Angela Whitenhill

Mental Health Initiative Manager