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  • Breaking Silence about Mental Illness

    Rob Stegman, Singer Meg Hutchinson and Jennie Payne, President of Central Middlesex NAMI

    Examples of Widening our Welcome

    Ever wonder what the world would be like if the veil of stigma associated with mental illness parted? I imagine it would sound like the question and answer discussion that followed the Winchester screening of Pack Up Your Sorrows—the documentary held in Chidley Hall on September 25—or the conversations audience members shared in small groups and with clergy. People requested the microphone to speak a heartfelt question, with renewed curiosity picked up a mental health book from the church library display and took home a pamphlet about NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    Pictured are film director Rob Stegman, Singer Meg Hutchinson and Jennie Payne, President of Central Middlesex NAMI. They led the audience discussion following the film screening.  Sponsored by the Health Ministry with a Purpose Forum Innovation Grant, the program addressed the challenges of living with a mental illness and the importance of community education and inclusion to promote recovery. Learn about future community screenings at the film’s websitepackup2-web

    Meet NAMI teachers, Jacquie and Judy, as they prepare class notes for the 12 week Family to Family Program held in the Tucker room on Wednesday nights this fall. The weekly series offers education on a range of mental illnesses and evidence-based treatments that promote recovery along with advocacy skills and tools to manage caregiver fatigue. This is the third time our church has hosted a Family to Family Program. Registration of twenty participations speaks to a strong community need for this training. Learn more about NAMI at nami.org. For future classes, contact Janet Hodges.

    Leslie French has prepared a display in the church office lobby of new books donated by Health Ministry to the church library on a wide range of mental health issues. When passing by take a look. The titles include:

    • A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness by Ghaemi, Nassir
    • A Pelican of the Wilderness: Depression, Psalms, Ministry, and Movies by Robert W Griggs
    • An Unquiet Mind  by Kay Redfield Jamison
    • Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and Church (The Young Clergy Women Project) by Lund, Sarah Griffith
    • Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair by Kevin Briggs
    • My Age of Anxiety Fear, Hope, Dread and the Search for Peace of Mind  by Scott Stossel
    • The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them by Richard J. Davidson
    • The Mind’s Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
    • Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson

    Finally, a podcast of Rev. Will Burhams’ September 25 sermon entitled “Chained among the Tombs,” a reflection on Luke 8:26-39 is now available online.

    When “I” is replaced by “We,” even illness becomes wellness. I appreciate all the support that church members and the Health Ministry Committee offered during recent months to provide these faith based mental health opportunities.

    —Kathleen Zagata, Health Minister