By Rev. Barbara F. Meyers
The time has come to start a Unitarian Universalist Mental Health Network. In the past several months I have been independently contacted by a number of people interested in doing some form of mental health ministry in a UU context. After having conversations with these interested folks, we have collectively decided that we should band together and start an organization that will promote the inclusion of people affected by mental health issues in the life and work of our congregations, and by extension in society at large.
We have created a mission statement for our endeavor:
The UU Mental Health Network promotes inclusion of people affected by mental health issues in the life and work of our congregations and in the society at large.
We seek to do this by creating a network that is:
- a supportive community of people affected by mental health issues
- recognized as an identity group whose opinion is sought out when issues about mental health in congregations come up
- a repository of information and resources about mental health
- an advocacy organization when the rights of people with mental health issues are under attack or when discrimination and prejudice is occurring
- an organization that will advocate to improve access in the United States to adequate, appropriate and compassionate treatment.
- an advocate for needed resources that are NOT available, and to the appropriate resources intact during budget cuts
- an advocate which seeks to remove the profit motive from the healthcare industry
- an advocate for mental health consumers being fully informed and full participants in their own treatment
- a vehicle for publishing views on mental health issues from different points of view
- a way to purposefully address unique mental health issues in marginalized populations: ex: people of color, LGBTQIA, prisoners, co-occurring disorders…
- a source for providing and encouraging education about congregational mental health issues to UU congregations
- a resource for congregations when a mental health-related issue arises
- a partner with mental health networks of other faith traditions, to share ideas and work together on our common goals
We are still in formation and have not yet decided on organizational and governance issues. We welcome participation by others who are interested in helping us create this organization and get it off the ground. If you are interested, you can send an email to admin at uumentalhealth.org.