Awareness

History of Mental Illness Awareness Week

NCPD Council on Mental Illness Encourages Observance of the  

National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery & Understanding  

and Mental Illness Awareness Week


Washington, D.C. – The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), through its year-old Council on Mental Illness, joins with thousands of individuals and organizations in marking National Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 7-13, 2007. Often overlooked as a disability, mental illness is in fact, included under the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and affects an estimated one in four families.

            As the highlight of this year’s observance, the Council is hosting a web seminar (“Webinar”) on Wednesday, October 10, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm (EDT). This hour-long, on-line seminar entitled “Supporting Persons with Mental Illness in Your Parishes” will provide personal, professional, and pastoral insights on mental illness and will include the opportunity for call-in questions. The target audience is priests; deacons; seminarians; and diocesan and parish pastoral, school and religious education personnel. 

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            In addition to participating in the Webinar, parishes and dioceses are encouraged to mark the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding on Tuesday, October 9 by holding prayer services or educational programs on mental illness. This event is part of National Mental Illness Awareness Week established in 1990 by Congressional Resolution. Each year, organizations and advocacy groups such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Mental Health Association sponsor events to attract public attention and support for improved services and inclusion. The faith community can play an important role in that effort.

This national effort is designed to promote sensitivity to, and inclusion of, individuals and their family members who are affected by mental illness. It is an opportunity for dioceses and parishes to raise awareness about this important issue, to educate Catholics about mental illness, and to help reduce the stigma often associated with it. Deacon Tom Lambert, Co-Chair of the NCPD Council on Mental Illness, explains further: “We hope that this event will be a starting point that will lead to increased understanding and ongoing programs to welcome and include people with mental illness in their faith communities.”

            Local observances may include liturgies, prayer services, educational presentations, and intercessions during Mass. It is also suggested that parish bulletins and diocesan newspapers publish information about mental illness.   Information about the Webinar and other resources and Internet links are available from NCPD at www.ncpd.org.

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NCPD was established in 1982 to advocate for welcome and justice for people with disabilities and their families within the Catholic Church and their communities. It launched the

NCPD Council on Mental Illness in May 2006 to carry out the following mission:

Following Jesus who embraced all, we assist the Catholic Community in

reaching out to and accompanying our brothers and sisters with mental illness

and their families, assuring their rightful place in the Church and society.

 

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