May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Tens of millions of Americans live with the burden of mental health problems.

The Surgeon General estimates that one out of five Americans experiences a mental health problem in any given year- approximately 60 million people.   One out of 17 Americans experiences a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression during the course of his or her lifetime.

Did you know?
Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.
14 % of Americans suffer from alcohol dependence
14 % suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Mental illness affects the mind, body, and spirit. Mental illnesses disrupt a person’s ability to think, feel and relate to others and one’s environment.
Most major mental illnesses are treatable diseases through the right use of professional help, medication, and community support.
In spite of advances in treatment, stigma still exists toward people with mental illness and many who live with major mental illnesses tend to be isolated and marginalized by society.

What does this have to do with our parish?
People with mental illness are our neighbors, family members, and fellow parishioners.  Although mental health problems are treatable with supportive services and medication, many people do not access help due to cost, lack of awareness, stigma and other issues. Families of people with mental illness often do not know where to turn. Lack of community services and support for their loved ones drains them physically, emotionally, and financially.
Mental illness is a disease inside and part of a person who has a heart and soul in need of love and compassion. As a community, as a Church, we are called to love and support all God’s people.
Let us be a community that lovingly supports and includes all who come to our doors.

Parish Checklist
As a parish, are we educated and aware of issues of mental illness?
Do we actively seek to reduce stigma of mental illness?
Do we pray for persons living with mental illness and their families as well as researchers and practitioners who seek to support persons with mental illness?
Do we extend a welcome to everyone and include persons who live with mental illness?
Are we willing to consider new support services that will benefit persons with mental illness?
Do we advocate for research, legislation, and services that will lead to better lives for persons living with mental illness?

Looking for help?
Check this partial list of local and on-line resources:
Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center -
Catholic Charities -
Alcoholics Anonymous -
Winona Health -
NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) -
National Institute of Mental Health -
Mental Health Ministries - 

Want to Do More?
If you have questions or comments about the information presented in this flyer, and/or
If you would like to consider working with others to build a parish mental health ministry, please send an email to:   Your email will be handled confidentially.