Just Released: Resource Guide on Mental Health and Gun Violence

April 24, 2013Raechel Banks

The URJ, as a member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), is proud to release Grounded in Faith: Resources on Mental Health and Gun Violence. We hope you will use this resource guide to inform your personal, professional and congregational life.

“Although IDAC members come from many faith traditions, they are united by a common commitment to honor all people, especially children and adults with disabilities. That means treating all people with dignity and respect—especially people on the margins of society. That means seeing someone with a psychiatric disability as a person first—someone with a name, someone with dreams and goals, and someone who requires specific community services to achieve his or her potential and to contribute to the community. For IDAC, this means advocating for the services needed so that children and adults with long-term mental illness can live lives of meaning and hope.” – Ginny Thornburgh, IDAC Convener

The compendium is a resource for congregational leaders, disability advocates and other concerned persons who wish to ensure that the on-going debate around gun violence prevention does not stigmatize people with mental illnesses and deprive them of their rights and freedoms.

This guide can be used to initiate conversations among students, parents, neighbors and colleagues with conflicting views; to provide guidance to study groups and workshops; to support advocacy to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities; and to inform national organizations, state and federal policy makers and officials about this complex subject. “Grounded in Faith” can nurture a new dialogue about the nation’s insufficient mental health system and serve as a springboard for action across religious and secular communities. At every opportunity, the voices of people dealing with mental health issues should be welcomed and valued.

Included in this guide are statistics and perspectives on mental health and gun violence, policies of the URJ and other religious organizations, responses to recent events, summary of federal and state laws and a tool for implementing this knowledge.

If you would like ideas of how to incorporate this guide into everyday synagogue life and programming, please contact Legislative Assistant Raechel Banks at 202-387-2800.

Image from United Methodist Church General Board of Church & Society

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