An Integrated Wellness Program for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas
Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. (See attached Fact Sheet from the National Alliance on Mental Illness). In any parish, 50% of adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. 1 in 5 families are effected by the mental illness of a family member. Most parishes will have an adolescent or young adult commit suicide. 20% of people attending Mass on Sunday are struggling with depression. Is the Church prepared to walk with them? Are our words and actions helping them grow closer to Christ in the struggle or convincing them that, until they are better, they are not welcome in Church? All of us struggle with the demands of life from time to time. We can never say, “It won’t happen to me.” Will someone in the parish be there for us? St. Thomas Aquinas says, “Mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress.”
Fully Alive is an integrated wellness program that will demonstrate that the Church is prepared and willing, with mercy, to walk with those struggling with the stressors of life. Fully Alive is an integrated wellness program in that it will address the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the human condition. The program will combine the tradition of faith and reason (theology and philosophy) with psychology — offering the gifts of Catholic health professionals (psychologists, counselors, physicians, fitness instructors, clergy, etc.) within our Archdiocese. The program will offer a variety of different support groups and educational sessions, each with a specific theme for those struggling with stress and health problems.
Mental Health Resources
- FREE Prayer Cards of Patron Saints of Mental Illness through NCPD and the Katie Foundation
- National Association of Mental Illness, NAMI Faith Net is an interfaith resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to encourage faith communities who are welcoming and supportive of persons and families living with mental illness.
- NAMI provides a brochure available for printing Being a Stigma Free Faith Community or a variety of pre-printed items for purchase on this topic at their store.
- NAMI Compassion in Action: A Guide for Faith Communities Serving People Experiencing Mental Illness and Their Caregivers.
- NCPD Mental Illness resources includes a resource entitled A Pastoral Response to Mental Illness in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to this resource, the council also recently revised their Mental Illness Theological Framework. Resources include supporting people with mental illness in your parish, prayers of the faithful for mental illness awareness and more.
- Welcome and Valued: Supporting People with Mental Illness in Parish Life (DVD)This DVD from NCPD features in-depth looks at people with mental illness and how they participate in parish life. It examines the four aspects of recovery: biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. Parish considerations include setting boundaries, acute behavior, confidentiality, and suicide.