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"Together for Mental Health" Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 4, 2021

From the Office for Social Ministry

Every year, millions of Americans are coping with some sort of mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Congress saw the need to raise awareness about this serious issue back in 1990 and have since established every first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week. This year, the theme “Together for Mental Health” encourages everyone to be mindful of those experiencing anxiety or depression, while advocating for better mental health care systems.

During the pandemic, a growing number of people have reported increasing symptoms of mental health disorders. The Hawaii CARES Hotline is just one resource available to those suffering from mental health crises or suicidal thoughts. Thanks to a partnership between the State Department of Health Behavioral Health Administration, the UH School of Social Work, and other public and private partners, trained counselors are available every day to answer distress calls. As stated in the Hawaii CARES Public Service Announcement: “whether you need a good listener, crisis intervention, or comprehensive treatment, contact the Hawaii CARES hotline 24/7…” Below are the various ways to connect with Hawaii CARES:

  • Call Oahu at (808) 832-3100
  • Call Toll Free at 1(800) 753-6879
  • Text ALOHA to 741741
  • Email hicares@hawaii.edu

If your parish is interested in broadening your social ministry reach by incorporating ministry that supports Mental Health, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability’s Mental Illness Council offers a theological framework for getting started. To learn more, go to Mental Illness Theological Framework | NCPD - National Catholic Partnership on Disability. NCPD will also sponsor a 30-minute learning session entitled, Together for Mental Health: Awareness and Action for a Culture of Acceptanceon October 12, 2021 at 10:30 AM (HST). The session will be led by Jennifer Charles, an Assistant Professor at the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University of America. To register, go to Webinar Registration - Zoom

“Christ took all human suffering on himself; even mental illness . . . whoever suffers from mental illness ‘always’ bears God’s image and likeness in himself…mental illness does not create insurmountable distances.”

Saint John Paul II