Acknowledges the importance of connections to mainstream religious and spiritual organizations in the community, with guidelines for facilitating consumer-to-congregation relationships that create welcoming religious communities.



Developing Welcoming Faith Communities


This document provides an overview of what is available to faith-based communities, religious congregations, and mental health organizations that want to connect people with mental health conditions and their families to congregational life. A questionnaire about ‘welcoming religious communities’ was sent to mailing lists at both the Clearinghouse and the Temple University Collaborative and received 101 responses from church leaders, peers, and family members, all of whom work within their congregations on inclusion projects. The questionnaires allowed for respondents to describe their mental health outreach activities to us, as well as discuss common barriers to establishing welcoming congregations they experience and their strategies that have helped create welcoming congregations within well-established mental health ministries.

Welcoming Congregations Fact sheet for Consumers



This Religious and Spiritual communities fact sheet provides consumers with a resource that defines religious communities and explains some barriers, as well as stigmas, they are likely to face and solutions to them. The fact sheets explain why religion and spirituality are important as well as giving tips and ideas on how to increase participation.

Welcoming Congregations Fact Sheet for Providers



This Religious and Spiritual communities fact sheet gives providers a resource that defines religious communities and explains some barriers that their participants might face and solutions to those barriers. The fact sheet explains why religion and spirituality are important as well as giving tips and ideas on how to increase participation.

Helping People Connect to the Religious Congregations and Spiritual Groups of their Choice: The Role of Peer Specialists

Based on an extensive review of the literature and multiple focus groups with peer specialists working in community mental health settings, this document reviews strategies for supporting peer specialists in helping individuals with mental health conditions connect with mainstream religious and/or spiritual congregations – going beyond attending services and toward full participation in the life of the congregation. The report reviews two key findings: a) that there is high interest among those with mental health conditions in being connected to religious and/or spiritual congregations in their communities; and b) that peer specialists are often discouraged by supervisors from talking about religious and/or spiritual concerns with the people they serve, for a wide variety of clinical and administrative concerns. The report offers recommendations to support peer specialists in meeting these needs of service recipients, among them: clarifying the facilitative role of peer specialists, emphasizing that each service recipient must be able to choose whether or not to pursue congregational connections, and working with local religious and or spiritual groups to create welcoming congregations.








Helping People Connect: The Role of Peer Specialists

On December 9th, 2015, Richard Baron, David Measel, and Rev. Ann Helmke sat down to have a national discussion on the role of peer specialists in helping people with psychiatric illnesses connect to religious congregations or spiritual groups. Topics discussed throughout the webinar included strategies to help peers become part of a religious group, experiences from peer specialists in connecting to religious groups, and what roles a peer can play.

Transcript available!

Webinar: Developing Welcoming Faith Communities