The following is a covenant that the early participants in the UU Mental Health Network created to govern their relationships with each other and those outside the group. The intent is to have all members of the UU Mental Health agree to abide by it. Comments and reflections are welcome
UU Mental Health Network Covenant
Keeping a covenant requires commitment, and work, and includes promise-making, promise-breaking, forgiveness and reconciliation. A covenant means walking together in this process of being human.
As leaders of the UU Mental Health Network, we covenant to:
- Offer support to each other, to the UU community, and society at large on mental health-related issues
- We will be respectful of each other and of UUs and other people who we interface with.
- If we have differing views we will seek to discuss them peacefully and respectfully keeping the goal of being helpful to and serving individuals with mental health difficulties and their loved ones in congregations and in the wider society.
- We will seek to understand problems that people in congregations are living with mental health challenges, and become a voice for them in the denomination and beyond.
- We will be attentive to mental health-related problems of people of differing ethnicities, people born in different cultures, and people with differing sexualities and gender identities.
- We will accept that each person’s experience and perception is valid.
- We will do our best to speak and write openly, honestly, and respectfully, with clarity, and tact, practicing compassion towards ourselves and others.
- We will do our best to listen carefully, with an open mind and open heart, to what others say.
- We will do our best to assume good intentions in others.
- We may talk honestly about our own mental health experience, but we won’t give other people advice on medical or alternative treatments.
- We will respect confidentiality.
- We will highlight problem areas with suggested changes for improvement and for seeking justice.
- We will look for the ethical/moral/religious aspect in the issues we are addressing, relating them to UU Principles when appropriate.
- Keep a list of resources available in our local communities and beyond
- We will give support and use our knowledge of options and resources available. To give options, we will cultivate a network of referrals to organizations.
- We will continue learning about the field of mental health, both its history and the new researches in the field.
- We will reflect on our own accomplishments
- When the covenant has been broken, that is, when one of these promises isn’t kept, we will figure out how to get back into covenant. The person who has broken the covenant will work with others in the covenanted community to determine what needs to be done in terms of forgiveness and reconciliation to get back into covenant.