NBA Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group

A network of support for Disciples engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries with those affected by mental illness and/or mental health disorders.

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 new Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group will serve 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 the full affinity group launching in 2016. 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 and Congregational Care Affinity Group begins to launch this year, you can start 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, Convener, Mental Health Affinity Group

Our Team

Our Partners

The Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group 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). We look forward to deepening our partnerships and shared work as the affinity group launches in 2016!

Join Us!

To learn more and get involved, please contact Angela Whitenhill, convener, NBA Mental Health and Congregational Care Affinity Group, or fill out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Interest Form
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Area of Interest
Degree of Involvement
Relevant Skills and Education

Webinar: Liberating the Mind: How the Church Can Think about Mental Health as a Justice Issue

January 12, 2017

In this webinar, we will break down what we mean when we say “justice," lift up common issues of justice that exist in the mental health field, and discuss how the church can navigate and respond to the intersection of justice and mental health.

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MENTAL HEALTH AFFINITY GROUP, SOCIAL JUSTICE   |   VIDEO

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.

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MENTAL HEALTH AFFINITY GROUP, EDUCATION AND TRAINING   |   VIDEO

Webinar: Speaking into the Silence

In an effort to begin equipping church leaders with the tools necessary to respond to mental health issues, this webinar focuses on storytelling and testimony sharing as a means for healing and empowerment.

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MENTAL HEALTH AFFINITY GROUP, PRISON & JAIL MINISTRIES AFFINITY GROUP, EDUCATION AND TRAINING   |   PDF

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 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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