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2017 Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course & Retreat

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2017 Annual Conference

Refund Policy: A written request for a refund must be submitted to NAMI MS postmarked my May 1, 2017. A $20.00 processing fee will be withheld from your refund. Please allow 30 days for processing. No request for refunds will be considered after May 1, 2017.

The NAMI Mississippi annual conference this year will continue our tradition of offering insightful training experiences for mental healthcare providers and advocates. In an effort to foster a broader perspective into the communities of those we serve and to develop partnerships within those communities, this year’s NAMI MS Conference will include additional sessions and speakers that focus on the institutions and professionals that are part of the daily lives of many of our NAMI Peers.

Education Forum

The NAMI Mississippi Education Forum will focus on programs, policies, and experiences which seek to remove barriers to learning by identifying students who may be struggling with mental wellness issues and direct students and their parents to appropriate community resources.

The Forum will include an opening plenary session featuring keynote speaker Maggie Wade, a lunch plenary session featuring keynote speaker Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, and three 45-minute breakout sessions at 10:0011:00, and 2:00.

CEUs for the Forum (.6) or full conference (1.4) are available for an additional fee.

 Public Safety Forum

The NAMI Mississippi Public Safety Forum will focus on programs, policies, and experiences at the intersection of public safety goals and the challenges of mental illness.

The Forum will include three 45-minute breakout sessions at 11:002:00, and 3:00 on Thursday, May 18th. Our lunch plenary (12:00-1:30) will feature keynote speaker Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and a time of recognition of programs and officers that have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of our fellow Mississippians who struggle with mental illness.

The forum will conclude with a closing coffee and networking time for public safety workers and mental health professionals to meet and work towards developing mutually beneficial partnerships.

In-service training credit hours will be provided upon request.

Faith and Caregiving Forum

The NAMI Mississippi Faith and Caregiving Forum will focus on the role of faith communities in supporting and ministering to the needs of their members and members of their communities who struggle with mental illness and their families. Emphasis will be placed on best practices for developing a Biblically-based mental health ministry, reducing stigma within the church body to empower those with mental illness to express their struggles and seek support, and incorporating mental health themes into church educational programs including children and youth ministries.

This forum will include an opening plenary session with keynote speaker Dr. Bradford Smith, Director of Belhaven University’s Institute for International Care and Counsel, three 45-minute breakout sessions at 10:1511:15, and 2:00, and a lunch plenary focused on the role of faith communities and other organizations in providing compassionate, equitable, and ethical access to mental healthcare.

Equity and Ethics Forum

The NAMI Mississippi Equity and Ethics Forum will focus on developing and continuing practices and programs that ensure that those living with mental illness are treated ethically in terms of privacy, care, and access. Various aspects of ethical conduct will be discussed including applications in law, health, services, and media. We will also explore barriers faced by certain groups in being/becoming aware of mental health services and accessing those services.

This forum will include a lunch plenary session with a speaker from the Southern Poverty Law Center, two breakout sessions at 11:15 and 2:00, and a closing plenary with an emphasis on community networking.

Health Ministry

The Office of Parish Health Ministry assists individual parishes to establish their own health ministries through the efforts of parish nurses and other volunteers, and may be able to help individuals find resources to medical or social needs that are not easily addressed.

Contact: Parish Health Ministry Office

Sister Pat Clemen - Program Specialist
Ph: 601-213-6378


Uniting wellness of mind, body, spirit

By Maureen Smith
A Catholic Charities ministry has been working with the Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi-Louisiana chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to spread a faith community nursing program across the Diocese of Jackson. Catholic Charities used a grant from both organizations to pay to train faith community nurses near Natchez and Brookhaven this year. In return, the nurses hosted cancer awareness and healthy living presentations at parishes and churches in their areas, but that was just the beginning.

NATCHEZ – Holy Family parishioners meet with Faith Community Nurse Cathy Dale to talk about cervical cancer awareness. Dale is one of a number of nurses across the diocese trained to bring a holistic approach to health and wellness to parishes and communities. (Photo submitted by Cathy Dale)

At Natchez Holy Family Parish, a group began to gather after the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass to hear Cathy Dale and Irma Moore speak about different kinds of cancer, healthy eating and more. Dale says the group continues to meet and share regularly.

Faith community nursing is not a strictly medical enterprise. “When I went to nursing school there was an emphasis on ‘wholistics,’ with a w, nursing – mind, body, soul,” said Dale. She and nurse Alice Methvein, who is a faith community nurse in Brookhaven, both explained that the program is an effort to bring back that holistic approach.
While some faith community nurses may provide services such as blood pressure checks, they are really there to minister to the community in a different way. “We make it easier for a patient to find out where to go. We are not supposed to be diagnostic or invasive, but we can be a resource and offer referrals,” said Methvein.

Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, who heads the Office of Health Ministry for Catholic Charities is the one who brought the program to the diocese. Her office is funded through a grant from the St. Dominic Health Foundation.
Each of the faith community nurses went through four days of training through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center. They learned about models for healthy living and how to introduce them into their faith communities.

Dale said this practice harkens back to when nurses were able to really connect with patients about everything going on in their lives. “When I went into home health there was a considerable amount of teaching that went on. You got the opportunity to tell patients that their outlook on life is important, and their relationship with their doctors are important,” said Methvein. She said that kind of education and one-on-one contact can help both doctors and patients.  She and her group started last summer and are working with their parish to strengthen and expand their ministry.

Methvein has started working with the youth group in her parish because she wants the young people to know who she is and that they can use her as a resource. Healthy living should start early in life and includes learning how to deal with stress and other issues young adults are facing. She said she likes to sit in the back of the church so she can see everyone. Sometimes just being aware of the people around you will provide clues about someone who is going through a tough time.

Dale agreed. She said just getting to know a group will sometimes help someone open up about a worry. “Especially in an aging population so often symptoms sneak in, ‘so what’s a little fatigue?’ they might think. You have to ask, ‘how much fatigue, is it stopping you from your normal activities, things like that,” she explained. Seeing people week after week might also prompt a nurse to notice a change in someone and encourage them to seek the help they might not realize they can get.

“We went to the (training) program and we got inspired. We have a number of programs we want to implement,” Methvein explained. She said a breast cancer seminar was well attended and a prostate cancer presentation was so good, the men asked to have it again so they could get more people to attend.

Kaiser said many parishes have the seeds of faith community nursing without even realizing it. They may have a walking group, an exercise class or a support group who are talking about the health of a whole person. Nurses trained through this program are not meant to replace these ministries, but can integrate them into a model for overall healthy living and strengthen them. “Holistic encompasses the whole person. When individuals become stronger within the congregation it makes stronger communities,” she said.
Kaiser and a handful of the other nurses in the program are now trained as faith community nursing instructors. They plan to offer training for new groups in July. Any parish or nurse interested in attending should contact Ann Elizabeth Kaiser at

 More than 60 Attend Diocese of Jackson's
Office of Health Ministry Event

 This article by Maureen Smith originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Mississippi Catholic.