In Held community minister and mental health advocate Barbara F. Meyers illustrates how members of liberal religious congregations can be supportive to those living with mental health problems.

Product Code: 7752
ISBN: 9781558968592
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Published Date: 07/24/2020
Pages: 152
Size: 8.5 x 5.5
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Price: $16.00

In Held: Showing Up for Each Other’s Mental Health, community minister and mental health advocate Barbara F. Meyers illustrates how members of liberal religious congregations can be supportive to those living with mental health problems, and their loved ones, in our congregations and society at large. Meyers addresses the fundamental elements of spiritual support—truth, hope, presence, acceptance, encouragement, authenticity, public witness, and pastoral care—with stories from real life situations and suggestions for how parishioners can provide and advocate for support in their congregations. A study guide for congregations and a list of resources for more information round out this thoughtful and necessary resource.


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Introduction

My Journey
Spiritual Implications of Mental Illness
One-on-One Support
Creating a Safer Place
Facing the Ultimate Crisis: Suicide
Taking Care of People
Beyond the Walls

Appendix A Study Guide
Appendix B Communication Guidelines
Appendix C Resources

Acknowledgments
About the Autho
r

“It is common practice in most Unitarian Universalist faith communities to offer many forms of pastoral care to people and families coping with trauma or physical illness. But all too often mental illness goes unseen and unattended to. Mental illnesses are sometimes called “no-casserole diseases.” People don’t bring casseroles to homes where someone is hospitalized for mental problems. Discomfort, unexamined assumptions about mental illness, and cultural norms isolate people and families who are in desperate need of community support.

This book is a resource for members of congregations who want to learn how to be more intentionally supportive of people with mental health problems and their loved ones. It emphasizes key elements of such support: kindness, hope, presence, acceptance, encouragement, and authenticity. It also reflects on the spiritual dimensions of mental illness, and on what can be done to address mental health issues not only within a congregation but also in the wider society.”

“In Held, Barbara Meyers offers a practical, concrete, comprehensive, and authentic guide book that will be invaluable for faith communities. Based on her own experience and grounded in a solid understanding of all the various aspects of mental illness as well as her own faith journey, this book is a must-read for congregations who want to be communities of support for those who have so often been marginalized by their illness, and for their families. Ending each chapter with discussion questions is an excellent way to make the participants reflect on their own experiences and address their fears and concerns.”

—Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, PhD, Roman Catholic nun, clinical psychologist, and author of Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness

“In courageously sharing her own struggles with mental illness, Rev. Barbara Meyers provides encouragement for others to share their stories instead of suffering in silence. Held: Showing Up for Each Other’s Mental Health provides helpful information, guidance, and study questions to help faith leaders and members of congregations provide a caring and supportive community for the one in five people sitting in the pews dealing with a mental health issue. People of faith can offer the gift of presence without judgment and the reminder that each person has worth and dignity just as they are. Rev. Meyers offers concrete ideas on how living out our beliefs and theology can help our faith communities become beacons of hope for all persons affected by mental illness.”

—Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries


“This book is a gift! Through the power of personal storytelling, scriptural insights, and practical tips, Rev. Meyers teaches us how to show up for each other’s mental health so we can experience the healing power of being held in love.”


—Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, MSW, MDiv, DMin, United Church of Christ Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice


“Every church library and pastor should have a copy of Held and a year should not go by without a small group read of this book to equip members of the congregation to support one another on journeys of recovery, emotional wellbeing, and a healthy spirituality. Barbara Meyers is a courageous and insightful guide to struggles with mental illness, trauma, and substance use. You will find help for your personal healing and wisdom in caring for a family member or friend. Colleagues in psychiatry, psychology, and social work too will find an understanding of spirituality and human vulnerability that honors the importance of faith and hope for our healing and growth. An incredibly informative book!


—Craig Rennebohm, author of Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets


“Barbara Meyers provides a rich tapestry of her lived experience matched with a simple yet compelling framework of practical skills and resources to not only equip but guide every congregation in creating an environment to hold those who need to be held by a community of faith. This must-have resource is accessible and usable to any layperson or faith leader who desires to create a welcoming and inclusive place of worship for those who may experience mental health and substance use challenges.”


—Rev. Jermine Alberty, M.Div., Executive Director, Pathways to Promise


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