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On behalf of all the Mental Health & Wellness Ministry (MHWM) volunteers, I welcome you!  Our Ministry serves anyone who experiences mental illness and any life occurrences which disrupt mental and spiritual wellness. We also strive to support their loved ones and caregivers.  We understand that mental illness is a disease of the brain, which does not define the person whose heart and soul is in need of love and compassion.  We understand mental illness does not discriminate; that people from all socioeconomic classes and all walks of life are afflicted. In fact, national statistics report that approximately one in four experience symptoms of a serious mental illness in any given year.

The Ministry began almost four years ago and is inspired by the philosophical beliefs and practices of Reverend Craig Rennebohm, who founded the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle. Our work is rooted in his model of providing a ‘companioning presence’ – coming side-by-side with those who are struggling. We also focus on providing information, education, resources, and support for emotional, physical and spiritual wellness. I have enjoyed being the director of this ministry since May 2013. I am a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist with extensive experience serving those with mental health needs. Our dedicated team of volunteers is a group of compassionate individuals who are interested in supporting those with these particular concerns.

In addition to the ‘ministry of presence’ based on the Companioning model, the Ministry provides presentations on topics related to mental health and wellness, evidenced based support and educational programs, and pertinent documentary films and book presentations. Mental Health First Aid training, and other workshops that help caregivers manage concerning behaviors of family members and loved ones are offered regularly.

The Mental Health & Wellness Ministry is supported by parish funds and grants from the Ferry Foundation, Order of Malta and by the generosity of other donors.

Please feel free to contact me…… I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Nancy D. Granger, MSN, CNS-BC
Parish Mental Health Nurse
206-382-4269
ngranger@stjames-cathedral.org

WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?

  • The Brain: Control Central  The brain is the body organ that controls feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Changes in the brain’s activity result in changes in each of these responses. These changes can be either short term or long term. A mental illness is a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning.
  • What’s Wrong?  Mental illnesses, including depression, are illnesses of the brain. Like illnesses that affect other parts of the body, mental illnesses are diagnosed by identifying characteristic symptoms.
  • Could It Happen to Me?  Everyone has some risk for becoming mentally ill. Factors such as genetics, environment, and social influences interact to increase or decrease a person’s risk for developing a mental illness.
  • Treatment Works!  Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively. Treatments may include the use of medications and psychotherapies.
  • In Their Own Words  Mental illnesses are diseases that affect many aspects of a person’s life but that can be treated effectively so that the individual can function effectively in everyday life. Learning the facts about mental illness can dispel misconceptions.
  • Words can hurt  Many derogatory words and phrases are used in relation to mental illness. However, these words maintain the stereotyped image and not the reality about mental illness. Try not to use these words, and encourage each other not to use them. It is more appropriate to refer to “a person who has a mental illness” when speaking about someone.

THE NEED

  • 1 in 4 adults struggle with a treatable Mental Health condition each year – approximately 60 million people.
  • 10% of us experience a serious Mental Illness in the course of our lives.
  • 14% of us suffer with alcohol dependence.
  • 14% of us suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • 1 in 4 families have someone or a family member with Mental Illness.

People who suffer with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and others tend to be isolated and marginalized by society.  The stigma associated with mental illness still persists despite scientific advancements and new medications that can help those with these brain diseases. Most major mental illnesses are treatable diseases through the right use of professional help, medication, and community support.

OUR RESPONSE

  • The Mental Health Ministry will aid in creating environments where persons with mental illness feel welcomed and supported within our Faith Community.
  •  The Church and this Ministry can be a formal entry point and linkage to established systems of Mental Health Care.
  •  The Mental Health Ministry will do everything possible to meet the basic needs of the Mentally Ill and their families.
  •  In touching the lives in this way, we come closest to imitating Jesus’ own example, which should be always before our eyes. (Lk 4:17-19, 21)
  •  The Mental Health & Wellness Ministry will create a community supporting growth and wholeness and circles of care surrounding those in need.
  •  We can work to assure that no one is alone on this journey through healing and recovery
Rick

 MHWM Volunteer chats with Gallagher Center Guest

ONGOING PROGRAMS

CREATIVE ARTS WORKSHOP – 2nd and 4th Thursdays, Noon-2:00pm.  Let your creative juices flow as you paint, draw and craft projects. Facilitator, Gilda Kabbani, is a Mental Health Ministry volunteer with artistic experience and training. No experience necessary!Dorothy at Chancery

GALLAGHER CENTER RESOURCE ROOM  - The Parish Mental Health Nurse and mhwm volunteers welcome you to drop by the Gallagher Center Sundays from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm.  Feel free to browse through literature on mental health, talk with a volunteer, learn about the ministry, obtain resources, develop supportive relationships with others.  All are welcome!

MINDFUL ALTERNATIVES SUPPORT GROUP   Monthly support group for family members of adult children with mental illness. Meets on the last Saturday of each month in Gallagher Center at 3:30pm. This group has the very specific focus of helping family members who suffer from a disabling mental illness and who are already active in their own recovery find better resources to further their healing. For more information, please contact Terry at mindfulalternative@gmail.com.

THE COUNSELOR IS IN” Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Emily Fell, LICSW and Dwayne Stone, LMHC, are available to meet for brief  problem solving sessions after Sunday masses.Josh and Nina

HOSPITALITY GROUPS – Monthly social and support gatherings at Cabrini Senior Housing and Chancery Apartments

DINNER AND COFFEE HOUR COMPANION MINISTRY ‘Ministry of Presence’ is provided to weekday guests of The Cathedral Kitchen and Sunday Coffee Hour Guests

MASS COMPANION MINISTRY – ‘Ministry of Presence’ offered during masses

SUPPORT VISITS RN and/ or MHWM volunteers are able to visit with you in office, at home, in hospital or by phone

CHECK BULLETIN FOR UPDATES AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES

 

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

PRAYER PARTNERSDon’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6).

We are a branch of the Mental Health Ministry devoted to praying for those living with mental illness – either in themselves, a loved one, or someone they care for. We help support the Mental Health Ministry by responding to special requests and needs that sometimes can only be answered with prayers. We intercede for them in the name of Jesus, confident that God will grant them the healing and grace they need.  If you would like to request prayers for yourself, a loved one, or someone you care for, please click here.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

If you have experience or a particular interest in the field of mental health and are interested in becoming a Mental Health Ministry Volunteer contact Nancy Granger, Parish Mental Health Nurse Some of the volunteer opportunities available are listed below. Ladies at Cabrini
 

Community Companions – 4 types

 

  • Prayer Partners - We are a branch of the Mental Health & Wellness Ministry devoted to praying for those living with mental illness – either in themselves, a loved one, or someone they care for.  Click here for the job description.
  • Home Visits – Visiting clients in the home supporting mental health issues or emotional distress – addressing loneliness and isolation as example.
  • Phone Calls – Calling from ministry office to client home – support and encouragement in dealing with mental health issues and emotional distress.
  • Administrative Assistance – related to special events,  programs, printing, information packets, etc.
  • Events – Assisting with set-up/take-down, welcoming, hospitality.
  • Other Opportunities – Utilize personal skills,  talents and passions  to create unique volunteer positions within  in the ministry

Volunteer Handbook  Click here to download our volunteer handbook

Mental Health Resources ("Purple Sheet") Click here to download a list of Community Resources

For Substance Abuse  Information  and Support   StartYourRecovery.org

WHAT SHOULD I DO IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS?

Call 911 for police assistance if the situation is life threatening or if it looks like someone may get hurt.
If
there is no immediate physical danger, call the Crisis Clinic at 206-461-3222 or 1-866-427-4747.
Mental Health First Aid

Resources for Faith Communities

National Catholic Partnership on Disability   Dedicated to ensuring meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church and society.   http://www.ncpd.org 

FaithNet NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) has been supporting persons afflicted with mental illness and their families in their search for wholeness. FaithNet helps to educate clergy and congregations about the nature of brain disorders, fosters an understanding of spirituality in the recovery process, and encourages faith communities to participate in care and advocacy. www.nami.org/namifaithnetNami Walk

Pathways to Promise is an interfaith technical assistance and resource center that offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry to people with mental illness and their families. www.pathways2promise.org/

Mental Health Ministries (mhwm), based in Southern California, has a national reach in its mission of producing high-quality resources to reduce the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities. www.mentalhealthministries.net/

 

 

 

 

St. Dymphna of Gheel
Patron Saint of those suffering with mental illness

Many people know St. Dymphna of Gheel as the patroness of people struggling with mental illness.  Few seem to know her background or why she is named such.  There are various legends surrounding the story of Dymphna, but the core narrative is this:  She was the daughter of a pagan chieftain in Ireland in the 7th Century.  Her mother, who had been a Christian and had baptized Dymphna, died when her daughter was 14.   Her father was devastated and had a long period of protracted grief.  After a fruitless search for a second wife, his attention fell on Dymphna. Her resemblance to his beloved dead wife, coupled with his emotional and mental struggle after his wife’s death, drove him to entreat her to marry him herself.  Horrified, Dymphna fled with her confessor, an elderly priest by the name of Gerebran, to the city of Gheel in Belgium.  Unfortunately, her father pursued her and found her.  His men murdered Gerebran and then, when Dymphna refused to go with him, he beheaded her.  Dymphna’s refusal to participate in this incestuous relationship led to her martyrdom.  She has been named patroness of people with mental and emotional difficulties – not only because of the toll that her father’s mental illness took on her family but because of her own emotional and mental anguish.  Dymphna was buried in Gheel.  When her body was discovered in the 13th century, cures and miracles were being attributed to her, especially for people with epilepsy and people with mental illness.  But the most outstanding miracle is one that began centuries ago and still continues to this day.  In the 13th century, an institution was built in Gheel where people with mental illness are admitted for a short time.  Following the initial treatment, these patients are then placed with families in the village with whom they live and work side by side.  The patients receive treatment without formality and gain greatly by the normal lifestyle offered to them by the villagers.  The villagers see them as a part of their lives and have for centuries.  In the context of institutionalization, deinstitutionalization, and reinstitutionalization (in prisons) in our country, this truly is miraculous.  All of this is attributed to a simple young princess who lost her life in defense of doing the right thing.  St. Dymphna is a legend and a model and has left a legacy for care and treatment of people with mental illness that defies the “wisdom” and sophistication of our own time.

Prayer for Inclusion

Creator God, we are your people.
We look to the future with optimism and with faith in you,
As we pursue our call to provide justice and fullness of life
For all people with mental illness.
We pray that every man, woman and child
May develop their potential And meet you
In themselves and in one another.
May we enjoy a totally welcoming community,
With you as our center, Joined hand in hand with our sisters and brothers.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Based on the Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities –
NCPD Council (National Catholic Partnership on Disability)

 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303