Mental Illness Help



In case you haven’t heard, Abiding Christ Lutheran Church was awarded a $10,000 Mental Health Ministries Grant from the ELCA!  

We will be partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) organization to implement our project. ACLC submitted a written proposal in December of last year and we were notified that we were awarded the grant in early May.  We were one of 25 ELCA congregations awarded a grant to implement a mental health ministry program.  Our project will address our community’s struggle with a lack of awareness and acceptance of those living with mental illness and disability.  This has contributed to a deficit of programs to support and improve the lives of families dealing with mental illness/disability and indirectly contributed to a rising substance abuse problem.  

The need for action and commitment to address mental illness and disability in Fairborn and Greene County is significant. Fairborn and Dayton, as well as Ohio, have recently been identified as having one of the most serious drug/opioid addiction problems in the nation. Arguably, substance use is often a way to self-medicate an emerging mental illness.  Likewise, the stress related to addiction can trigger a mental illness. According to NAMI, the current statistics in Fairborn and Greene County are:  

20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition
50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24
1 in 5 people live with a mental health condition (1 in 25 live with a serious mental illness) 

 Abiding Christ is determined to be a welcoming church and desires to be in relationship with the people in our community.  The partnership with NAMI positions us to assist in addressing mental health needs.  NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organizations dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness.  They have two evidence-based programs to offer which are ready to be implemented.  We believe that the implementation of our project will provide a coordinated effort with more support and make a substantial difference in Fairborn.  

Primary Goals of our Project:  

Goal #1:  Increase awareness, acceptance and support of those living with mental illness/disability by providing education and resources for key leaders in our schools and community.

 Provide evidence-based suicide prevention training using the Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training program and evidence-based Mental Health First Aid training for the Fairborn Local School District and for local civic organizations; and, provide NAMI FaithNet’s “Bridges of Hope” training for Lutheran Saints in Ministry churches. These programs will increase knowledge, awareness and acceptance of mental illness and provide tools to support those living with mental illness.

 Sponsor four Fairborn School District students to attend Youth to Youth International training, which develops leaders who will foster relationships in their schools with a focus on prevention of substance abuse and mental health issues, including suicidality. 

Goal #2:  Increase opportunities for people with mental illness/disability to participate in healthy physical and mental activities that promote recovery and social inclusion.

 We will partner with We Care Arts to offer art classes for those with mental illness and disability.  

 We will offer a special yoga class here at ACLC taught by a certified yoga instructor who has specialized in teaching and leading people with mental disability.  

Our inaugural event, Bridges of Hope, was Sunday, June 2nd at Abiding Christ which was taught by a NAMI instructor.  This course is designed to increase our knowledge about mental illness so that we can create stronger safety nets and welcoming communities of faith for people affected by mental illness.

If you are interested and want to help with any of these ministries or want to know more about the project and the grant, please call Abiding Christ at 937-878-2888.

Beth Ewing