Across Indiana, more than ever before NAMI affiliates and their members are engaged in support and educational outreach to clergy and communities of faith. 
 
Outreach through NAMI FaithNet can be the catalyst for changing minds, sharing hope and offering life-saving help. NAMI FaithNet aims to educate faith-based groups about serious mental illnesses by discussing the role which faith communities can have in support and referral, and by telling them about NAMI education, support, and advocacy programs. 

Here are just a few examples of NAMI FaithNet activities in Indiana. 

Columbus - Two NAMI members started a weekly Faithful Friends support group to provide fellowship and support for people living with mental illnesses. The group is not officially a NAMI support group, but it follows the NAMI model and guidelines. The difference is it welcomes people of all faiths and acknowledges the value of spirituality as a key element in recovery. 
 
NAMI West Central Indiana - A group of members formed a NAMI FaithNet outreach team, studied Reaching out to Faith Communities and Bridges of Hope - two training power point presentations from the NAMI FaithNet web site. They are now speaking to faith groups, teaching them about mental illnesses and the role of the clergy and congregations in supporting people living with mental illnesses and their families, and about NAMI education and support programs. 
 
NAMI Bloomington - members arranged for the executive director of Behavioral Health at Bloomington Hospital to speak at a clergy luncheon in April. Scott Branam has training and experience both as a minister and mental health care provider. 
 
NAMI South Bend - is sponsored the second annual Hymn Festival of Healing and Hope on Friday, October 9th. It featured local church and community choirs performing a variety of inspirational hymns, readings of poems, quotes, and verses. 
 
NAMI Fort Wayne - is co-sponsoring a full-day clergy conference on November 5th called Out of the Shadows. Topics will include mental illness education, steps to starting a mental health ministry, suicide prevention, crisis intervention and on-going care resources.


NAMI FaithNet in Indianapolis co-sponsored, with IU Health and Christian Theological Seminary, a full-day conference; Churches that Heal - Faith, Mental Illness & Recovery. Dr. Nancy Kehoe, a religious of the Sacred Heart and a part-time clinical psychologist from Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychology, was the keynote speaker.


Keep up the good work, NAMI members around Indiana! We are changing attitudes, touching hearts, and bringing hope.
If your NAMI affiliate or members are building bridges with faith communities, please write carolejwills@gmail.com and tell us about your activities.