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inside Catalina UMCOn Friday, April 25, 2014, Interfaith Community Services (ICS) presented the Second Biennual Faith Communities and Mental Illness Conference, subtitled “Mind, Body, Spirit, and Community.” St. Philip’s was one of the Supporting Sponsors of the conference. More than 400 persons, representing mental health organizations, faith communities, persons living with mental illness, family members, and others, attended the day-long program at Catalina United Methodist Church. Inspiring keynote speakers included Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, Rabbinic Director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York; renowned author Terri M. Williams; and Dr. Nancy Kehoe. Twelve break-out sessions included “Veterans, Their Families and Mental Health,” presented by our own Rev. Vicki Hesse with Ken Dunlap, Family Therapy Coordinator at the Tucson V. A. Hospital.

Parishioner Sharon Nielsen represented St. Philip's Mental Illness Ministry

Parishioner Sharon Nielsen represented St. Philip’s Mental Illness Ministry

Faith Comminities and Mental Illness ConferenceConferences such as this are increasingly important as we become more aware of the need to educate, support, and accept those who are affected by mental illness. Mental Health First Aid USA reports that 60% of people with a diagnosable mental illness will go untreated. It is essential that faith communities become better equipped to provide support and information to individuals and their families who often face stigma and receive inadequate services. Thanks to ICS, as well as The David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation and the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA), for making this conference possible.

Click here for links to materials and presentations.

—Sharon Nielsen

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