National Institute of Mental Health

Bethesda, MD. (866) 615-6464.

An agency of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Mental Health offers a wide range of free brochures, fact sheets, reports, press releases, and other educational materials on mental illnesses, mental health issues, learning disabilities, eating disorders, suicide, and medications for mental disorders. Free booklets,on illnesses such as anxiety disorders, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia,are available on the agency's Web site and would be an economical way to supplement any church leader's library. Check out especially “For the Public” sections of the site. Having quick access to information on a particular mental disorder helps to demystify the malady, so that a pastor or counselor can know the next step and more easily decide whether to refer a parishioner to a mental health professional. While pastoral counselors know that it is often unrealistic to expect persons with mental disorders to read about their illnesses, the literature may be helpful to church leaders and families of the mentally ill.