Mental Health

Our Church Opens Minds through awareness about the variety of disabilities that affect people every day.  There is no us and them when it comes to disabilities.  All people are differently-abled and all people will experience some disability, at least once in life. A parish Opens Minds whenever it takes concrete steps to exercise God's compassion for people who are differently-abled physically, mentally or emotionally.  As defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, mental illness is a group of disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating which diminishes one’s ability to cope with normal demands. 

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that begins with forgetfulness that is severe enough to effect work, lifelong hobbies  or social life. Symptoms progress to confusion, trouble with organizing and expressing thoughts, misplacing things, getting lost in familiar places, and changes in personality and behavior. 

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by manic depression, a strong genetic disease which moves from hyperactivity and euphoria to intensely irritable.Major Clinical Depression Symptoms include: persistent sad or empty feeling; feeling helpless, worthless, pessimistic or guilty; fatigue or loss of interst in common activities; disturbances in eating and sleeping; crying, anxiety and panic attacks; difficulty concentrating, remembering ot making decisions; thoughts, plans or attempts of suicide, persistent physical symptoms or pains that won’t respond to treatment.Schizophrenia is a group of disorders marked by delusions, hallucinations and disorganized thinking.  Connections with what is going on within a person and what is happening in the outside world seem to be split apart.  For more information contact

Seasonal Affective Disorder - also known as SAD, is characterized by recurring periods of depression that accompany seasonal changes.  More information is available in a free download (below).  

A Psychiatric Advanced Directive like a living will, helps individuals with mental illness control their future treatment if they become incapable of directing their own care. A person can specify  preferences for medications, in-patient care and who should be notified in case of an emergency; as well as any important information that will assist recovery.  (Free download)

Alzheimer’s Association - offers online courses for education and awareness and many services to assist caregivers in a variety of areas.


Baker Victory Services  - offers a wide-range of services for individuals with physical, developmental, and/or behavioral challenges. In addition, BVS includes programming which supplies a lifetime of care--from infancy to late adulthood. Programs are divided into the following divisions (click each to go directly to a division): Educational Services, Adoptive and Foster Care Services, Outpatient Services, Residential Services, Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Women's Services, The WAY Program, and Affiliate Organizations/Related Services.

Catholic Charities - offers a wide-range of services through the Monsignor Carr Institute, Catholic Charitites Community Outreach Treatment Team, Catholic Charities Creative Edge Studio, Catholic Charities Children’s Mental Health Clinics, Catholic Charities Salamanca Clubhouse, and Catholic Therapists.

Behavioral Health Services - Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services for people of all ages. Our mission: Provide quality care to all in a safe and compassionate environment using a multidisciplinary approach that recognizes the uniqueness and dignity of each patient.

Wyoming County Mental Health Services - provides comprehensive, accessible, culturally competent outpatient mental health services which will assist clients in recovering from mental illness and in achieving the highest possible level of functioning and independence. Offices are located in Warsaw and Arcade.

The Balanced Mind Foundation is a family resource for children with mood disorders.

The Counseling Center - provides services in Allegany County for people affected by mental illness and serious emotional disturbance to achieve their hopes, dreams and quality of life goals. Offices located in Wellsville, Houghton and Cuba.

Network of Care for Behavioral Health -  a web resource for individuals, families and agencies concerned with behavioral health providing information about behavioral health services, laws, and related news, as well as communication tools and other features.

Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. - promotes the mental health and well being of the community through education public information, prevention programs and training while supporting individuals and families living with mental illness through advocacy, treatment linkage and outreach services.

Mental Health Peer Support Group meets on Sunday, September 30, at 1:00PM at the Kenmore Library, 160 Delaware Rd, in the community room downstairs. For additional information contact Sharon.

Child and Family Support Program (Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc.)  offers a variety of support to those who have a family member suffering from a mental illness including family advocates, phone calls, respite, family support groups and family events.

Children's Mental Health Coalition 716-871-8997 strengthens family support services, promotes awareness of children’s mental health issues and  fosters equal partnerships between parents and child serving agencies.

National Alliance on Mental Illness in Buffalo and Erie County– offers a free 12 week course for family caregivers. .

Family Psychoeducation Group - meet on the first Monday of the month at 6:30pm at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in the Winkelstein Conference Room located on the first floor of the South Strozzi Building.  For more information, call Dr. Ellen Trigoboff at 816-2129.  Click Here for a list of support groups throughout WNY 

Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance for Family & Friends on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 8:00PM.

Family Education Meetings held the 2nd Tuesday of every month at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4007 Main St., Amherst, on the 2nd floor (use accessible rear entrance). Hospitality hour at 7:00PM; meeting begins at 7:30PM in the auditorium. Come hear speakers, borrow from the library, and enjoy refreshments. Contact Mary Kirkland, 832-4035 or 662-6264.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family & Friends Support Group of Buffalo held the 3rd Wednesday or every month at 7:00PM at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4007 Main St. (a half block East of Eggert Rd.), Amherst. Enter at the ground level door on the left at the back of the church. Contact Gerie Cruz, 877-2076.

Understanding Depression in Children is an article from Kids Health explaining the various types of depression, causes, symptoms, and treatment available for children.

Options for Eucharist - persons with mental illness may find the traditional Sunday mass setting too crowded, long or confining.  An alternative could be to attend a week day or evening mass.  A Eucharistic Service for recipients of mental health services and care givers is is held the Second Friday of each month at 7pm at St. Joseph University Chapel at 3275 Main Street in Buffalo. This twenty minute service is designed for those feel more comfortable in a less confining, less populated and shorter service. For more information, contact Sister Jeremy Midura at 833-0298.

Faith Resources

Celebration of Mental Wellness - Ecumenical Prayer Service, St. Joseph University Parish.

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability's Council on Mental Illness published the Welcomed and Valued:  Mental Illness Resource Manual, which offers information about mental illness in all age people and ideas for creating supportive communities and resources.

  Mental Health MinistriesMental Health Ministries - has evolved into an ecumenical and interfaith outreach. It works with faith communities, advocacy groups, community organizations and mental health professionals - focusing on spirituality and mental illlness. A distinction is made between spirituality and religion. Spirituality springs from a belief system that gives meaning to lives. It grows out of experiences rather than doctrine. Religion, on the other hand, refers to the beliefs and practices associated with organized groups such as churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. A holistic approach to mental illness encompassing the mind, body and spirit is supported.

Pathways to PromisePathways to Promise - is an interfaith technical assistance and resource center which offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry with people with mental illness and their families. These resources are used by people at all levels of faith group structures, from local congregations to regional and national staff.

NAMI FaithNetNAMI FaithNet - is a branch of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.

Candle Prayer

Mental Health Litany


Free Downloads

Aging and Mental Health

Children's Mental Health Disorders


How to Help a Person Who is Mentally Ill

Mental Health First Aid

Person With Mental Illness

Psychiatric Advanced Directives

Real Men - Real Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Supporting Parishioners With Mental Illness

The Person with Mental Illness

What Would I Do?

For more assistance from the Diocesan Disability Action Team, contact Dennis Mahaney or call 716-847-8393.

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