“All persons with disabilities have the capacity to proclaim the Gospel and to be living witnesses to its truth within the community of faith and offer valuable gifts. Their involvement enriches every aspect of Church life.” ~ National Directory for Catechesis: Catechesis with Persons with Disabilities (no. 49) Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2005.
One of the major initiatives of the 2014 OCS Strategic Plan is to celebrate and serve all students in our care and welcome new families to work with us to build more inclusive faith communities. Specifically, the Office for Catholic Schools, in consultation with the Archdiocesan School Board, the Executive Principals, and the Diversified Learners Committee and in accordance with the mission of Catholic education, will develop and promote the implementation of policies and procedures to maximize student admissions, classroom placement and instruction, and educational resources for diversified learners at the local school level. Mental Health needs are great and the Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry Committee works with us to assist in reducing the stigma of mental health illness through education, advocacy and programs.
Resources to Open Doors
The Archdiocese of Seattle’s Mental Health Ministry is a rich source of information for all aspects of mental health and inclusion. To see mental health opportunities offered throughout western Washington, please visit the Archdiocese of Seattle Mental Health Resources to support Parish and School Faith Communities and the Mental Health Ministry Facebook page. 5.11.22 – Survivors of Suicide: A Journey of Faith, Hope and Healing on Vimeo
The Advocacy Network on Disabilities: Project Connect: Pandemic Helpline Launches For People With IDD, Caregivers Project Connect is available by calling 888-847-3209. As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, a new 24-hour support line is working to help individuals with developmental disabilities and those who care for them cope during this tough time. The telehealth line is free and available anytime for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers and other members of their support teams across the nation. READ MORE.
Spiritual First Aid is the first disaster spiritual and emotional care intervention to have been built from the ground up using both biblical wisdom and evidence-informed psychological insights gained from years of scientific study. Spiritual First Aid Manual
Mental Health America supports during Covid-19: Mental Health America has published a Mental Health self-help toolkit that is accessible to all in English and Spanish. MHA’s screening tools provide an anonymous, free and private way to learn about your mental health and if you are showing warning signs of a mental illness. STATISTICS on YOUTH and Mental Health.
Mental Health First Aid Trainings Mental Health First Aid, through NAMI, is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. 1) The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone age 18 and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. The adult course is available in both English and Spanish. 2) The youth Mental Health First Aid course is primarily intended for adults to learn how to help young people experiencing mental health challenges or crises. It reviews the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents ages 12-18 and emphasizes the importance of early intervention. Find a course near you. En Español
LivingWorks-SafeTalk Program: Most people who express behaviors, feelings and thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. SafeTALK-trained helpers can recognize expressions of those seeking help and act by connecting them with life-saving resources. This program especially helps our young adults become advocates for mental health as they recognize signals that someone might need help NOW. The program is about training, advocacy, and accompaniment. Training is appropriate for anyone 15 and over. Please read about our Mental Health: Catholic Lifesavers Corps – Cohort 1 SUCCESS! – My Catholic School and our Catholic Lifesaver Corps Report for Cohort 2.
Catholic Lifesaver Corps – Archdiocese of Seattle (archseattle.org) The CLC information page resides both on the OCS website and the ARCH website. The Fall 2022 CLC-Cohort 2 application process is now open for our interested Catholic High Schools in western Washington. School applications are due by May 31, 2022.
Mental Illness with the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities (NCPD). NCPD has a Council on Mental Illness which works to provide resources for persons with mental illness and their families. They recently published a resource entitled A Pastoral Response to Mental Illness in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to this resource, the council also recently revised their Mental Illness Theological Framework.
Mental Health Guides
This section includes guides to the work of The Mental Health and Faith Community Partnerships, specifically, FOREFRONT Suicide Prevention, and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Navigating a Mental Health Crisis document is a valuable tool from NAMI. This info-graphic calls us all to the importance of mental health care for all students.
- Back to School Toolkit | Mental Health America (mhanational.org) Just sign up to download.
- Sept. 2021 – Mental Health Literacy Guide (Bilingual) This document is shared from (NCPD) The National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities.
- August 2021 – Covid 19 -Back to School THINK (Teaching with Healthcare Informed Neurological Strategies for Kids) Toolkit from the Dept of Health, WA. This toolbox provides behavioral health tips and resources for navigating some of those common emotional responses of children, teens, and adults during disasters and how these may present in the classroom and other areas of school life.
- Chad’s Legacy Project – Founded in 2016 by Todd and Laura Crooks in honor of their incredible son, Chad. Chad’s Legacy Project’s homebase is Seattle, WA. Chad’s Legacy Project is dedicated to the advancement of mental health suports, advocacy and hope!
- Suicide Prevention – King County
- Help Someone Else : Washington State Department of Health
- Honoring our SEL Counselors and their commitment to mental health supports, advocacy, and hope! Mental Health Month: Expert Interview & Advocacy Guide (counselingschools.com)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 – or 988. Save this number on your phone – you never know when you might need it.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month – please join us!