Spiritual Support Group Forming

Refuat HaNefesh: A Spiritual Support Group for Family Members of People Struggling with Mental Health Issues

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, one out of every four people in every faith community is affected by a brain disorder. That means, 25% of our congregations are affected directly, in addition to their family members and loved ones who may need support in coping with their loved one’s illness. Being a faith community means being a channel or presence for what is holy or sacred. Therefore offering a spiritual support group is an outgrowth of this presence.  Spiritual support groups affirm that each person does not have to be alone with his or her journey or struggles.  Hearing each others’ stories and life experiences can be a liberating and welcome break in the silence that often surrounds mental illness/brain disorders and the burdens carried as a result. “Coming out” and speaking in a safe, non-judgmental place allows isolation to dissipate and community to be created. The group will offer a safe place where people can meet and openly name how their spiritual life/faith can help with mental health challenges.

Har HaShem’s Spiritual Support Group for Family Members of People Struggling with Mental Health Issues will be a loving, supportive and confidential meeting place held regularly on the fourth Monday of the month from 6:30-8:30.  The first meeting will be on February 22nd. It is open to all members of the Jewish community. Family members and friends of people who are challenged with mental illness are welcome. This is a drop in group. There is no need to register. Together we will share and hear how faith and a reliance on a Higher Power can be helpful when coping with this disease. Members will be able to support each other by compassionate listening and by sharing strategies and disciplines. We will share techniques with each other such as writing in a journal or meditation that can make a substantial difference.

Facilitators for the meetings are Rabbi Deborah Ruth Bronstein and Dr. Susan Ollar, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
Rabbi Bronstein came to Har HaShem in 1994 and served as the senior rabbi for 21 years. She is now the Rabbi Emerita. Rabbi Bronstein is a member of the board of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness and has been engaged, within the congregation and in the community, with people who struggle with mental health issues.
Dr. Ollar is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar illness, chronic illness, and pain management. She also provides evaluations and treatment of cognitive problems including dementias and other neurological disorders. Dr. Ollar is a member of the American Psychological Association and is on the Medical Staff of Boulder Community Health. For more information, visit her website at: www.BoulderIntegrativePsychology.com.
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