Our mission is to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness among clergy, staff, lay leaders and members of faith communities and help them more effectively develop and nurture supportive environments for persons dealing with mental illnesses and their families and friends.
INMI envisions a future in which people freely seek the mental health services they need without fear of embarrassment or stigma. Faith communities are leading a cultural shift that permeates our society with compassion for people with mental illnesses and their families.
INMI board of directors
Rev. Alan Johnson, retired minister and chaplain (Board Chair)
Rabbi Deborah Bronstein, Rabbi Emerita, Congregation Har HaShem (Board Vice Chair)
Marc Esenwein, Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Boulder Valley Community Action Network leader (Board Treasurer)
Sue Brightman, spiritual support advocate (past Executive Director)
Molly Ruskay, community resource specialist and mental health advocate ( Administrator & Board Secretary)
Kathy Cackowski, MSW, Certified Spiritual Director
Jed Shapiro, M.D., Jewish Buddhist
Susan Williams, MSW, executive director, Windhorse Guild; Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish
Bill Hanlin, Pastoral Care, New Creation Church, Individual and Family Counselor
Scott S. Britan, MS, J.D.
Rev. Alan Johnson
As told by INMI cofounder Joanne Kelly:
“My son, who was newly diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at the time, had been attending church with me fairly regularly. He had not yet learned that taking his prescribed meds helped keep him out of the hospital and out of jail, and each day it was a struggle to convince him to take his medication. One Sunday he chose to sleep in instead of going to church, and it turned out to be a gift from God. That Sunday, the minister proclaimed from the pulpit that if you are diligent enough in your spiritual practice, you don’t need psychotropic drugs. After the service, I explained to the minister that his words were doing a major a disservice to people like my son, but there was no changing his mind. I vowed then and there that I would do everything in my power to educate clergy and faith communities about mental illnesses and do what I could to help them be more welcoming and supportive of people with mental illnesses and their families. A couple years later, in 2007, I led a team in organizing Boulder County’s first interfaith conference on mental illness, which was the seed from which INMI sprouted.”
In October 2007, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) Boulder County, with the support of the Mental Health Center Serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties (now called Mental Health Partners) and Boulder County Aging Services, organized a conference, “Mental Health and Faith Communities: Sharing the Promise of Hope and Healing.” Approximately 100 people from 20 faith communities in Boulder and Broomfield counties attended the conference. Response to the conference was overwhelmingly positive; follow-up meetings resulted in the formation of INMI.
INMI operated as an outreach program of NAMI Boulder County until December 2010, when it became a standalone organization. INMI was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization in February 2011.
Over the last several years, INMI has offered a series of conferences, workshops and other events for clergy (pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, etc.), staff and lay leaders of faith communities in Boulder and Broomfield counties. See a list of the conferences and programs INMI has sponsored.
In addition to its local programs, in April 2011 INMI launched a separate website, The Caring Clergy Project, for faith community leaders anywhere.