The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the biggest grassroots of its kind in the nation since 1979, represents the interests of individuals with mental illness as well as their family members. NAMI-GA offers several FREE programs in the Atlanta metro area:
  • Family to Family is a 12-week course taught by NAMI members who also have a loved one with a mental illness; the course topics range from learning about medication to coping as a caregiver.
  • NAMI offers several family support groups in the area as well as NAMI Connection, a support group for mental health consumers.
  • Peer to Peer is a nine-week course taught by mental health consumers in recovery; the topics range from learning how to recognize signs of relapse to developing coping strategies.
  • In Our Own Voice is a public education program, in which two individuals in recovery from mental illness tell their stories to various audiences. The purpose of the program is to reduce stigma and to encourage people in need of treatment to seek it out.
Please contact Jean Dervan, Education Programs Director at NAMI-GA, at 770-234-0855 or 800-728-1052, for further information.
ComfortMyPeople A Policy Statement on Serious Mental illness from PCUSA

Georgia's Mentally Ill Need Housing Options Op-ed piece by Paul Bolster, executive director of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association.

FaithWorks Update

For the past year, FaithWorks has been working with NAMI Georgia to expand their faith community outreach efforts. Last month, FaithWorks presented a Vision and Plan for building partnerships between faith communities and NAMI's 30+ affiliates throughout Georgia. This grassroots effort will help educate faith leaders and congregations about mental illness and offer NAMI's resources as a way to help address congregational and community needs.

FaithWorks is also creating new partnerships with mental health advocacy groups such as the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN) and the Georgia Parent Support Network (GPSN). The leaders of both groups are enthusiastic about working with us and invited me to submit an article on FaithWorks for their newsletters. The article is attached.

News of our efforts is reaching various faith groups. Earlier this month, a popular Baptist blogger discussed FaithWorks with his readers. Click here to read his post. FaithWorks will also be featured in an upcoming issue of the United Methodist North Georgia Conference magazine that is sent to all Methodist congregations in the northern part of the state. Our ongoing goal is to raise awareness of FaithWorks among all denominations and faith traditions, so that we can build partnerships with as many houses of worship as possible.

Last but not least, FaithWorks is reaching out to mental health advocates and faith leaders across the nation in an effort to learn "best practices" among those forming mental health advocate-faith community partnerships. Specifically, we have been in contact with the leaders of Pathway to Promise (St. Louis), NAMI FaithNet (Indianapolis), and the Faithbased Mental Health Initiative (San Antonio).

This represents most of FaithWorks' efforts this calendar year. Clearly, our faith-driven initiative is gaining momentum. It is doing so with your help and by God's grace. As we move forward, I ask you to help raise FaithWorks' profile within your faith community by doing one (or both) of the following:

  • Find a way to get FaithWorks featured in your faith community's newsletter(s)
  • Spark interest in mental health issues among your clergy, congregation and/ or community-at-large

If you need my help, feel free to contact me; I am here as your resource. I look forward with hope and anticipation to seeing our effort bear fruit for those with mental illness and their families.


Branko Radulovacki, MD, MBA

Metro Atlanta clergy of all faith traditions--including seminary faculty and students, as well as Stephen Ministers of all denominations—are invited to attend the Faith, Family and Mental Health Conference on Thursday, November 19, 2009. The purpose of the conference is to heighten faith leaders' awareness of mental and addictive illness and to educate them about numerous valuable resources which can help address congregational and community needs.

The conference will feature panels of speakers addressing:
Personal Accounts Struggles a family faces when a loved one has mental illness
  • Natalie Flake - Surviving a suicide
  • Hyland Justice - Life with mentally ill parent
  • Lisa Roberts - Faith in time of family crisis

Ministry Models Pastors and churches addressing the needs of those with mental illness
  • The Rev. Vicki Franch and Todd Sandel - In Congregations & communities - Crisis intervention - Healing broken families
  • The Rev. Jim Milner and James Milner - Among homeless men, women & families
  • The Rev. Leland Jones and Major General Mark Graham, U.S. Army - For veterans, active military, and their families

Resources Partners in the effort to tackle issues of mental health and mental illness
  • Eric Spencer - National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Georgia
  • Sarah Schwartz - Mental Health America (MHA) of Georgia
  • Audrey Sumner - Georgia's new Dept of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Jewel Norman - Georgia’s newly appointed Mental Health Ombudsman
  • Judge Winston Bethel - Chief Magistrate of Dekalb County - Therapeutic jurisprudence

This conference was held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church on November 19, 2009.

FaithWorks is a grassroots initiative to galvanize Atlanta’s faith leaders and their respective communities to help those with mental and addictive illness. This interfaith coalition was initially founded to respond to our state’s mental health crisis with urgency and compassion. Now, we are energizing a mental health movement that builds partnerships between mental health advocacy organizations and faith communities throughout Georgia.