Learn, Share, Grow
A mental health toolkit for faith leaders
March 22, 2022

Welcome to Learn, Share, Grow, a quarterly toolkit designed for faith leaders, like you. Through each issue, we offer resources to support you and your mental health and help you feel more confident in caring for the mental health and wellbeing of people in your congregation and community.

We welcome your questions, ideas, and submissions for future issues. If you would like to share a story about your congregational mental health ministry, ways you show hospitality to those living with mental illness, self-care tips, and other mental health topics, please let us know.
Wishing you continued blessings on your ministry,

Amy McNicholas, Illinois Manager, Faith and Health Partnerships

Anya Gordon, Wisconsin Manager, Faith and Health Partnerships
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Hotlines and Locator Tools

You want to support congregants' mental health and wellbeing but may not know where to turn if a member is experiencing a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide. We have compiled a list of mental health and substance abuse hotlines and locator tools - information you can refer to in times of crisis. Keep this information handy and share with members of your congregation and wider community.
Support Hotlines

NAMI Chicago Helpline: 833-NAMI-CHI

NAMI Southeast Wisconsin: Milwaukee Helpline: 414-257-7222

The Friendship Line - 1-800-971-0016

Crisis Text Line - HOME to 741741

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Locator Tools

Locator Tool for Substance Abuse Treatment –FindTreatment.gov

Click on the flyer or scan the QR code to download and share this important resource with members of your community.
988 dialing code will provide easy access to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Effective July 16, individuals experiencing emotional distress or suicidal thoughts can access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via a new 988 dialing code.

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who will listen, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available, even after 988 is launched nationally.

Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor. See the impact the Lifeline is making in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Click on the flyer or scan the QR code to download and share this important resource with members of your community.
Virtual clergy support group offers a safe space to 'just be'
For the past couple of years, faith leaders have found a safe space where they can gather to share their struggles, joys, and concerns.

A virtual monthly clergy support group, sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health Faith and Health Partnerships, has provided faith leaders with fellowship, respite – and a place to ‘just be,’ says the Rev. Dr. Darryl Jenkins, pastor of Faith Community Church, Itasca, Ill., who co-facilitates the group with Amy McNicholas, LCPC, Illinois Manager, Advocate Aurora Faith and Health Partnerships.

“Pastors are overwhelmed with many facets of their ministry and personal life,” Darryl said. “Oftentimes they don't know where to turn. But this program has created a space for them to flesh out their feelings and know they are not alone.”
“The group has even helped reignite participants’ passion for their vocation,” Darryl added.

During the sessions, Amy and Darryl remind participants of the importance of self-care, “not only as a necessity to their overall health and wellbeing, but also to their ability to best serve their congregation and community,” Amy said.

And when faith leaders’ conversations gravitate toward congregational care and their concern for the communities they serve, Amy and Darryl redirect participants’ focus back to themselves to help them tune in to their own needs and feelings. “Self-care is not being insensitive to others; rather, it is caring for yourself, so you can better care for others,” Darryl said.

A nimble format
Each session includes a centering activity and discussion on a topic, such as resilience, resolution, vulnerability, loneliness, and strategies to avoid burnout. In addition, Amy and Darryl share resiliency resources, like simple meditation techniques and deep-breathing exercises - everyday practices that faith leaders can incorporate into their busy schedules.

Darryl Jenkins and Amy McNicholas co-facilitate the clergy support group
Clergy Self-Care Tips

Join a clergy group to get feedback when dealing with a stressful situation and to find support.

Exercise and eat a healthy diet - habits that are often neglected especially because of time constraints and the potlucks or food readily available at congregational events.

Develop relationships for yourself, your spouse and your family independent of the congregation.

Take Sabbath time to stay grounded in your spiritual life. Create a sacred space in your office and/or home.

Seek help to process post-traumatic stress syndrome symptoms and address addictions or other means of self-medication. Clergy can be affected when dealing with the trauma of others. Self awareness of vulnerabilities can help with the impact of secondary trauma.

Resources for you and your faith community
Click on each resource to download, print and share
Advocate Aurora Local Services Guide

Ever have a congregational member look to you for a referral for services? Or have a family that needs extra support and you aren’t sure where to send them? Need to know more about programs that are available in the neighborhood you are serving?

Advocate Aurora Health recognizes the need for an up-to-date, reliable, tested list of community services that are easily accessed with a click of a button.

The Advocate Aurora Health Local Services Guide, powered by NowPow, allows you to find free and low-cost options for food, safe housing, child care, transportation and more.

This resource can help you support the people you serve and it’s provided free-of-charge to you!
Click on the flyer or scan the code to download and share this resource with your community!
Job Posting: Half-time Faith and Mental Health Program Specialist
Advocate Aurora Health is looking for a half-time Faith and Mental Health Program Specialist to do training, education, capacity building, and consultation with faith leaders and congregations in Illinois and Wisconsin. The position requires an active clinical license (LCSW, LCPC, etc.) and the candidate must be comfortable in working across diverse religious traditions. Candidates of color are highly desirable for this role.
Find more information and apply here.
Advocate Aurora Health Faith and Health Partnerships

We work side-by-side with faith communities to promote health equity by mobilizing the transforming power of social connectedness and spiritual wisdom.

Our core belief: Drawing on the wisdom of our religious traditions and the best social and public health science, we believe that positive, mutual relationships and the intentional practice of faith are at the heart of what creates equitable health and well-being for individuals, congregations and communities.
Faith and Health Partnerships | AdvocateAuroraHealth

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