In 2007, three Trinity families came face-to-face with traumatic mental illness in their lives. In response, these three couples called together the Trinity clergy, a physician, and two mental health professionals to form the Trinity Mental Health Initiative. The purpose was to open up and facilitate the kind of conversation that often isolates families even in a loving community: a conversation about mental illness, namely, what is it and how can we as a faith community get and give help to those who live with a brain-based illness.
As the Trinity Health Initiative board explored its mission, it became apparent there were more caregivers in the faith community than just parents needing resources and support. National statistics state that 1 in 4 adults has dealt with depression, anxiety, or something less common like a bipolar or schizophrenia diagnosis.
The Trinity Health Initiative teamed up with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and began offering its 12-week Family-to-Family course every winter at the church. The course offers education and support for caregivers of family members with mental illness. See namihelps.org for more information.
In addition to the 12-week Family-to-Family course, which is open to the community, the Mental Health Initiative offers “Hope for Recovery,” a six-hour workshop offered on a Saturday morning in the summer, and again in the fall. “Hope for Recovery” is often referred to as a “Mental Illness 101” survey course.
The MHI board also feels a call to offer presentations and lectures to the public on the various components of mental health. In late fall 2014, the MHI sponsored an evening with Dr. Henry Emmons on the topic of resilience.
This ministry of Trinity Church, while born out of heartbreak and the deepest kind of pain and grief, has evolved into a life-giving, energized ministry to the community. Both our prayer and our goal is to curb the stigma associated with mental illness, and provide community, information, inspiration, and hope. There is always room for new voices and ideas in our work. Please consider joining us for our program offerings or on the planning team.