Faith and Mental Health

Faith communities have an opportunity to see individuals with mental illness just as they are and just as Jesus does ― people with gifts, experiences, and abilities to contribute to the community, as well as people in need of the love, care, and support that faith communities provide to congregants and the larger community. Yet there is evidence that severe mental illness is often, overlooked or ignored by government agencies and other organizations. The Woodside community wants to be a part of changing that in the community of Bucks County and the state of Pennsylvania.

October 08, 2020

Currently the treatment of mentally ill defendants by our court system mostly routes individuals to jail instead of to professional services which could address their mental health needs. Once incarcerated a disregard for an individual's need for mental health treatment serves to cause further and often debilitating deterioration.

The first and best line of defense is keeping the mentally ill from being incarcerated in the first place. Mental health courts serve to do that by partnering key justice system officials with leaders in the mental health system to divert offenders with severe mental illness into a judicially supervised program and includes community-based treatment.

We also need to petition the State to fund legislation entitled Act 106 which supports Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT.

Act 106 was passed in Pennsylvania in 2018 and voted into law in 2019 with no funding, yet it's implementation will be crucial to offering support services to the mentally ill. This article explains barriers to funding.

Ways to Advocate:

Write letters/emails to our local County and State Representatives and Judges.  Find sample letters and contact information here.

Compassion in Action PDF outlining the role faith based communities can play in caring for the Mentally Ill.

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