CARe: Congregational Action and REsponse for Mental Health

CARe is a Synod-wide initiative focusing on the following priorities:

  • raising awareness of the reality of mental health issues in congregations;
  • educating and training lay people and rostered leaders about mental illness, and helpful responses;
  • identifying resources available to congregations; and
  • encouraging  development of local responses by congregations

This initiative has a number of goals, one of which is to assist congregations to become more informed of mental health issues in society and the church, and to share resources and ideas with the Synod.

CARe encourages congregations and ministries to consider applying for funds to help local initiatives to support mental health and wellness in their communities. Examples of eligible funding include support for local workshops, ‘closed
courses’ or scholarships for individuals attending training sessions such as
Mental Health First Aid or Peer Support training, or enhancing existing programming.

Grant applications will be reviewed twice annually. Grant applications received by April 15 and October
15 will be reviewed by CARe Committee members, and decisions communicated to successful
applicants within 3 weeks. Applications received prior to those deadlines will be held for review at the
indicated times.

Applicants may be requested to participate in a discussion with the CARe ministry team as part of the
application review process.

Successful applicants will be required to submit a report to the CARe Committee on the outcomes of the
project, at the end of the funding year. Requests for funding should be submitted to:
CARe Committee Chair,
c/o ABT Synod Office
10014 81 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 1W8

NEW Resource:  The CARe Ministry Team has developed a two-part series of resources on the subject of Dementia Care.  Each part includes a video, a transcript of the video, and a discussion guide for the video.  The resources may be accessed and downloaded here.

Part 1 – Dementia Care                                                                       Part 2 – Dementia Care
Dementia Care Video 1                                                                       Dementia Care Video 2
Dementia Care Video 1 Transcript                                                      Dementia Care Video 2 Transcript
Dementia Care 1 Discussion Guide                                                    Dementia Care 2 Discussion Guide

Video:  CARe Ministry Team – July 2021

CARe Ministry Team Report to the 2021 Synod Convention

May 13, 2021 Article by Adam Grant:  There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling

Other Resources:

Tool Kit from Canadian Mental Health

Alberta Health Services

Mental Health Ministries : 2021 spotlight newsletter focusing on mental health and COVID-19.  Free newsletter offering resources produced by many different denominations
Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries : free programming resources for congregations
Pathways to Promise Ministry : interfaith resource center offering liturgical and educational materials, program models and                                                                                          networking on mental health and other issues

Synod CARe Ministry Team Resources available from Synod Office:                                                                                                                                                   CARe bookmark                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Care Brochure                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Day to Remember those with Mental Illness (2017):  sermon and service developed by CARe Ministry Team and Worship and the                                                                                                                      Arts Ministry Team, designed for Epiphany but may be adapted

Mental Health and the COVID-19 Crisis – March 18, 2020 article : MH and Covid 19 submitted March 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10.                                                               The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) suggests the following facts about suicide.

  • about 4000 Canadians die by suicide every year
  • suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young people
  • men in their 40s and 50s have the highest rate of suicide
  • women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Suicide is a complicated issue and not all suicides can be prevented but CMHA suggests some means of reducing the risk of suicide:

  • Seek treatment, care and support for mental health concerns
  • Build social support networks such as family, friends, a peer support group or connections with a cultural or faith community
  • Learn good coping skills to deal with problems

Here are some additional resources you can access :

  2. Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry. http//
  3. Mental Health Ministries video – Teenage Depression and suicide.

The CARe Ministry team has supported attendance and helped sponsor workshops for mental health first aid classes. More information about this may be obtained by first contacting the ABT Synod office.

CARe Video Resources

CARe has purchased two DVDs 1) Mental Health Mission Moments and 2) Stories of Healing and Hope: PTSD, Trauma and Suicide. These include short clips that could be used as sermon starters. One example follows:

Understanding depression:  1 Kings 19:1-16a ( DVD clip 2.25 minutes)

“After a dramatic showdown with the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel, in which Elijah was victorious, Queen Jezebel, sympathetic to Baal workshop, threatened Elijah’s life.  Elijah left his servant and fled to the desert where he took refuge under a broom tree.  He wished he would die.  Instead of gathering his friends around him for support, he isolated himself.  Elijah was experiencing many of the symptoms of depression, which are still so very common today, such as lack of sleep, physical exhaustion, feeling rejected ad worthless, isolation and irrational negative thoughts about his own death.  An angel of the Lord ministered to Elijah until he was ready to return to his community. “

Video Resources Produced by Mental Health Ministries

Many videos  are available on Mental Health Ministries’ YouTube channel. The shows are available on  DVDs which can be purchased on the website. Many short clips are taken from the full length shows and are designed to be used in worship or other settings. They are available on the DVD, Mental Health Mission Moments. Most of the full length shows, including Creating Caring Congregations, are available on the two DVD set, Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond.

Mental Illness and Families of Faith
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Creating Caring Congregations
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Overcoming Stigma, Finding Hope
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Understanding Depression
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Addiction and Depression
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Teenage Depression and Suicide
Preview Clip (watch it on YouTube)
Complete Show
 – (watch it on YouTube)

Out of the Ashes: Transforming Trauma
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

Mental Illness and Older Adults
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

For Better or Worse: A Couple’s Journey with Mental Illness
Documentary, “Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness”, produced by Third Way Media.
Click here for more information or to purchase Shadow Voices from MennoMedia

PTSD: Healing and Hope
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

Suicide: Healing After the Death of a Loved One
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

Eating Disorders: Wasting Away
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

Anxiety Disorders: Overcoming the Fear
Complete Show (watch it on YouTube)

Coming Out of the Dark Ecumenical Intro
Short Intro Clip (watch it on YouTube)

We hope you find these videos helpful as we work together to erase the stigma of mental illness through education and recognize the importance of faith/spirituality in the treatment and recovery process.

Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119