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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has expanded its "FaithNet" outreach program for faith communities with the inauguration of a new Web site, NAMI FaithNet
"This is an important step forward" said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Strategically, it reinforces a national grassroots network that is being built from the ground up."
"It also formalizes NAMI's commitment to educating clergy and congregations about the nature of mental illness, and supports the role that spirituality can play in recovery."
In addition to the Web site, NAMI's national office is assuming responsibility for the network's electronic newsletter which has a circulation of approximately 1,500 clergy and lay leaders around the country.
FaithNet was founded by Gunnar Christiansen, M.D., of NAMI California, who has published the newsletter since 1998. "We are indebted to Gunnar and his vision," Fitzpatrick said. "We intend to grow the network that he has planted."
"NAMI needs the faith community and the faith community needs NAMI," Christiansen said. "FaithNet has the potential to be the alarm clock that awakens a Sleeping Giant—the faith community—to the opportunity to play a significant role in helping people who live with mental illnesses, and their families."
"With God's help, anything is possible. NAMI's willingness to expand FaithNet at the national level is the answer to my prayers."
The FaithNet Web site includes resources for:
FaithNet activities at NAMI's national convention in Washington, D.C., June 28-July 2, 2006 will include a workshop on "Mental Illness as a Spiritual Journey" presented by Reverend Susan Gregg -Schroeder, coordinator of Mental Health Ministries, an ecumenical, interfaith outreach program through the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.