Reclaiming Hope: the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

As the body of Christ, we are called to act as the instruments of God in the world, to protect creation, to respect the dignity of all human beings, and to love one another as God loves us. It is through our service to one another that God’s healing power can reach one of the largest and most forgotten sectors of society, namely people who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse. Whether their illness is loneliness, short term depression, or something more serious, all people deserve to be seen, heard, and supported as beloved children of God within a beloved community.

The Church, as a whole, can and should:

  • understand the risk factors of untreated mental illness and substance abuse and their impact on underserved areas
  • assist people in finding the personal connections and support they need as they journey towards recovery
  • be prepared to assist people in finding the resources they need to recover
  • be prepared to educate itself and the public about mental illness and substance abuse
  • advocate for public policy that will provide resources for research, access to care, and reduce the risk of suicide and substance abuse

Guidance from scripture

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40: 1-3 1

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

Guidance from our faith tradition

In our Baptismal Covenant we promise to work with God and one another:

  • to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
  • to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as ourselves
  • to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being

Purpose of the Commission

  • To spread awareness of mental health and substance abuse support resources
  • To provide resources and educational opportunities to the body of Christ that will aid them in understanding mental illness and substance abuse and their impact on individual lives
  • To provide support for preaching and liturgy around mental illness and substance abuse
  • To engage the body of Christ in dialogue about the stigmas attached to mental illness and substance abuse
  • To advocate for public policy changes that affect the availability of effective mental health and substance abuse treatments.

May – Mental Health Awareness Month

Rev. Jason Burns, Co-Chair
Rev. Charlotte LaForest, Co-Chair
Bobby Callard
Barbara Elsner
Marian MacDonald