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

Our Work

In response to General Assembly Resolution GA-1523, which calls the church to become a “welcome and support to people with mental health illness and disorders,” the NBA, in partnership with Disciples Home Missions, 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.

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. The Mental Health Initiative has four 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
  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
  4. Encourage the sustainability and innovation of mental health ministries in congregations, regions, and the general Disciples community

Mental Health Affinity Group

As part of the Mental Health Initiative, the Mental Health Affinity Group (MHAG) aims to support ministries of the church in becoming adept at identifying and addressing issues related to mental health and congregational life through two 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 MHAG task teams by completing the interest form below!

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 adoption 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. We look forward to deepening our partnerships and shared work moving forward!

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

2017-18 Hope for the Holidays and Winter Seasons of Our Lives

In this Mental Health Initiative series, Disciples offer honest, practical, and genuine hope about issues not often talked about during the holiday season, extending reflections through the winter for those who may feel alone during this time.

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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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Workshops and Resources from 2017 General Assembly

If you missed the 2017 General Assembly or a specific workshop, several presentations will be made available here!

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Webinar: Super Powers, Suicide, and Speaking Life

This webinar provides general information about suicide; discusses key elements, warnings signs, and potential risk and resilience factors for suicide; and offers practical ways we can nurture, support, and stand alongside those affected by suicide.

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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