Archdiocese of Chicago
Department of Human Services
:: Office for Persons with Disabilities



The purpose of the Commission on Mental Illness is to educate and resource parishes on the spiritual and supportive needs of persons with serious mental illnesses such as bi-polar disease, major depressive illnesses, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Since mental illness not only affects the individual with the disease but also family members, the needs of the entire family are addressed.
The Commission is comprised of volunteers who include persons with mental illness, family members, mental health service providers, and trained pastoral leaders experienced in ministry to persons with major mental illness and their families. The Commission started 12 years ago as a grass roots effort of people with a shared interest in providing programs for and education about parishioners facing serious mental illnesses.
The work of the Commission on Mental Illness breaks down the barriers and the stigma that keep people with serious mental illness and their families from seeking support and compassion from their faith community. It raises the consciousness of clergy, religious, lay leaders, and all Catholics in the Archdiocese about the spiritual needs of people often pushed to the margins of society. Its mission is to bring people with mental illness back to the worshiping community and to full participation in the life of the Church.
The Commission on Mental Illness:

  • organizes an annual Mass in celebration of the lives of persons with mental illness, their families, and mental health professionals
  • presents workshops and seminars to priests, hospital chaplains, deacons, parish leaders and ministers
  • works in partnership with Faith and Fellowship, a faith-sharing program that enables parishes to effectively provide spiritual and social support for adults with mental illness
  • distributes a 12-part series of bulletin articles raising awareness and providing education on mental illness
  • provides referrals and networking for people needing support in their struggle with mental illness
  • distributes Mental Illness, What Can Faith Communities Do? a resource guide for parishes to reach out to parishioners with mental illness
  • distributes Finding Help, a comprehensive listing of mental health resources for the south Chicago area.



Connie Rakitan
Faith & Fellowship
38 N Austin
Oak Park, IL 60302
Phone #: 708-383-9276
Fax: 708-386-5091

Deacon Tom Lambert
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
708 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL 60657
Phone #: 773-525-0453 x21

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