For Faith Leaders
NAMI FaithNet is a network composed of members and friends of NAMI. It was established for the purposes of:
- Facilitating the development within the faith community of a non-threatening, supportive environment for those with mental illness and their families.
- Pointing out the value of one’s spirituality in the recovery process from mental illness and the need for spiritual strength for those who are caretakers.
- Educating clergy and faith communities concerning mental illness and
- Encouraging advocacy of the faith community to bring about hope and help for all who are affected by mental illness.
NAMI FaithNet is not a religious network but rather an outreach to all religious organizations. It has had significant success in doing so because all the major religions have the basic tenets of giving care and showing compassion to those in need.
NAMI FaithNet respects all religious beliefs. It also recognizes the expression by the majority of those affected by mental illness of the importance of the role of their spirituality in their ability to cope with having one of these illnesses themselves or in caring for an ill friend or family member. NAMI FaithNet encourages all those who are affected by a mental illness, who are also members of a faith community, to talk to their clergy person about mental illness and the role their faith is playing in their lives. This is done for two purposes:
By telling their clergy person their story, he or she becomes personally involved and personal involvement is the best method of education. Understanding requires not only the attention of the ears and eyes, but also the heart; and
By speaking to their clergy person, they have the opportunity to gain spiritual support. Sadly, at present, many shy away from speaking with their clergy person because of the effect the stigma of mental illness has had on their lives.