Mental Health Friendly Congregations

1. Antioch Baptist Church

Facebook: abcsanjose

Pastor Fannie M. Davis, is a staple at Antioch Baptist Church. Under her guidance the church serves the African Ancestry community, often in partnership with African American Community Services Agency (AACSA). The Antioch Baptist leadership team has been instrumental in creating a wellness ministry aimed at destigmatizing mental health. They’ve held trainings and workshops, participated in a NAMIWalk, collected mental health resources, provided referrals and access to local community agencies, held a wellness fair addressing mental health, presented a resource table, and invited mental health professionals to speak to the congregation. Food was provided and mental health and wellness workshops were developed specifically for the elders. Antioch Baptist Church provides education and support to individuals caring for an aging family member; and create safe spaces that destigmatizing conversations on mental health, wellness, aging, and support.

Back to top 

2. Bible Way Christian Center


Bible Way Christian Center has made it their mission to connect with the community in ways that promote long-term healing. Under the leadership of Pastors Oscar and Janice Dace, Bible Way Christian Center is creating mental health friendly, stigma free spaces by ensuring the most vulnerable are heard, valued and respected. They have hosted wellness fairs that include mental health, provided space for re-entry programs that help previously incarcerated individuals get back on their feet; and created Destiny Academy, a program that supports the congregation and community with tutoring, therapeutic and family support services. Bible Way Christian Center works diligently to provide group therapy sessions and cancer support groups, monthly food and toiletries distribution to homeless encampments, groceries to those who are hungry, and free hot meals to anyone who shows up on Sundays. They practice putting hands and feet on their faith to reach out to those in need. They are Kingdom Builders and Life Changers!

Back to top 

3. Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Facebook: @cgslc

Christ the Good Shepherd’s ongoing commitment to mental health is evident in the brochures it provides in the narthex, in sermons, and in prayers such as on World Suicide Prevention Day: We pray for those who have been touched by suicide, those who are dealing with mental health concerns and feelings of hopelessness, and for the people who love and care for them. In addition, the church hosted a mental health training called The Art of Facilitating Self Determination for Lutheran pastors from seven churches in the Bay Area. Used by NAMI Santa Clara County to train peer mentors working with people coming out of psychiatric hospitalizations, the workshop challenges a tendency to want to fix, save, advise, or set straight those with mental health conditions and instead enter into relationships in ways that stimulate critical thinking and self-directed growth.

Back to top 

4. Congregation Beth Am

Facebook: @congregationbetham

Congregation Beth Am started Beit R’fuah, House of Healing, sixteen years ago. The group begins with the breaking of Challah bread and a communal meal and then moves into a time of meditation, sharing, and singing. Beit R’fuah offers profound hope and connection for those with mental health challenges and their families. The congregation hopes the movie they just produced will be a way to share the Beit R’fuah model with other faith communities.

Back to top 

5. Emmanuel Baptist Church

Facebook: @EBCSJ

Sr. Pastor Jason Reynolds has expanded the impact Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) is having in the community. Through sermons focused on mental health, wellness and wellbeing, he continues to normalize uncomfortable conversations. In addition to providing health fairs and workshops addressing mental health, he was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Pastor’s Mental Health Symposium, kicked off the 2020 NAMIWalk; and is leading a mental health focused afterschool program to bring awareness to youth and young adults. Aware of the impact COVID has had on the community’s mental health Emmanuel Baptist Church has become a testing and vaccination center for the community. The congregations also continually share mental health/crisis resources and will soon provide grief cohorts for its members to address the continual loss that has occurred during the pandemic. Pastor Jason Reynolds truly has a heart for people and is making an impact in the community.

Back to top 

6. The Fathers House

Facebook: @thefathershouseint

Pastors Carl and Penny are the cornerstone for The Father’s House International. They have created a culture of inclusion that transcends multiple communities. Their work includes supporting the homeless in the community by providing space where homeless individuals and families can use their parking lot as a safe space to rest; and are invited to hear the word and fellowship with the congregation regularly. Their mental health and recovery ministries guide the church’s daily interactions, creating an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion. They have attended the NAMI FaithNet luncheon, held suicide prevention trainings, preached sermons on mental health, hosted and helped develop the 2019 Pastors Mental Health Symposium to serve pastors and faith leaders. They have also shared crisis information and referred members to NAMI. Prior to COVID, they visited church members in behavioral health units; and welcomed them with open arms upon their return. The Father’s House includes a Spanish speaking service under the direction of Pastor Mario; and has helped plant a church in India. They continue to expand their community partnerships to better serve the congregation.

Back to top 

7. First Congregational Church of Palo Alto UCC

1985 Louis Road Palo Alto, CA 94303

Phone: 650-856-6662  Email:

Facebook: @fccpa

First Congregational Church of Palo Alto UCC seeks to create a culture of radical inclusion. Not only are church members actively seeking to include and get to know others in the wider community, the congregation has also established many ministries that bear witness to the mission of being welcoming to people of all abilities, and those who are LGBTQ+.

Our congregation provides safe overnight parking spaces for unhoused individuals to rest in their vehicles and provides a rotating shelter indoors during winter months with meals and hot showers for unhoused members of the community. In addition, we have outreach programs that focus on supporting local youth with counseling services, and we help migrants with services like access to health care and mental health care services, education, employment, and financial aid.

We have also recently established a new ministry called “Mental Health Allies” that focuses on educating the congregation and community about mental wellness, mental health challenges, and resources available.

We want to provide a safe place for people to speak openly and draw strength from one another. To this end, we have invited mental health professionals from the community to speak, provided material about specific diseases, told our stories, and have invited NAMI members for educational forums after worship services.

Together, we want to create a safe space that is stigma free for those who experience mental health challenges as well as their families.

Back to top 

8. First Unitarian Church of San Jose

Facebook: @fucsj

First Unitarian seeks to spend time every year growing wiser, more informed, and more holistic in the area of mental wellness and neurodiversity. The congregation regularly invites people to share their lived experience in worship and also explores topics related to mental health such the Americans with Disabilities Act. One Sunday each month, the church gives its entire offering to a community organization whose work aligns with their core belief of the inherent worth and dignity of every person—and more than once, NAMI has been the beneficiary of this offering. First Unitarian doesn’t shy away from those with chronic mental health issues; they seek to walk alongside, learning as they do how to provide support as well as how to work in tandem with mental health professionals. The church, for example, has researched therapists in the area and keeps an updated list of recommended ones. Perhaps most important of all, First Unitarian sings—as members did at the Annual Homeless Persons’ Interfaith Memorial Service—bringing their hope for the beloved community we might one day become.

Back to top 

9. Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church

Facebook: @HolyRedeemerLutheranChurch

Holy Redeemer has promoted suicide prevention training for its members and will be asking each member to read a document entitled “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis.” Situated as it is on the Alameda, Holy Redeemer frequently has people with mental health symptoms wander in on Sunday mornings. Members seek to welcome and connect with their visitors—and when necessary, know how to get them help. This month, the congregation is also praying about mental health each week, including praying for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors as they make a decision about Laura’s Law.

Back to top 

10. Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Facebook: @hsparish

After three suicides devastated the Holy Spirit congregation, the church created a suicide bereavement support group called “Out of the Wilderness.” These heart-breaking losses also led the parish to create educational events such as a Sunday afternoon presentation called “Mental Health Matters” and to publish regular articles on mental health in bulletins and newsletters and on its website—articles such as “Anxiety at Any Age,” “Depression in Seniors,” and “The Generosity of Self Care.” Holy Spirit has added books on mental health to its library and is preparing to launch more support groups using materials from Grace Alliance for those suffering from mental illness or addiction as well as their families. The ultimate goal of the congregation is captured in the words of medieval mystic Mechthild of Magdeberg: “How should one live? Welcoming to All.”.””

Back to top 

11. Kingdom Worship Center International

Facebook: @kwcichurch

Twenty years ago, Under the leadership of Pastors Theresa Tate and Donna Edwards, Godly Girl Network (GGN) was created. The intention was to bring together women of God to hear God’s word, pray and be encouraged. Three years ago, this healing space for women led to the founding of Kingdom worship Center International (KWCI). Under the leadership of Pastor Tate, Kingdom Worship has incorporated mental health education and awareness through monthly workshops and trainings to support mental wellness and conscious recovery, community outreach and support for individuals living with a mental illness (hygiene kits, food, blankets and clothing are regularly provided). Clinical resources, how to navigate the mental health system, life support skills, suicide prevention material, and crisis hotline information are continuously shared with congregation. Kingdom Worship also hosts mental health conferences and fairs for the congregation and community where they continue to share message of hope and remind the congregation that they are not alone.

Back to top 

12. Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Facebook: @MHTChurch

With Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church being a hub for so many Catholics in East San Jose, a group of likeminded individuals rallied together to promote and protect the mental health of their fellow parishioners. In response to the question, “Do you believe as Christians we have a responsibility to care for and support those who are living with mental illnesses?” our multigenerational, multilingual congregations responded with a resounding, “Yes!” This was evident at a prayer vigil for those affected by suicide where we observed the need for mental health support for catholics in our area. Our team continues to do good work at our parish as we prepare for a year of mental health workshops and support groups. We are honored to be on the frontlines of the mental health movement with other mental health friendly congregations.

Back to top 

13. Peninsula Bible Church Cupertino

Facebook: @peninsulabiblechurchcupertino

Peninsula Bible Church Cupertino began its mental health ministry with a Forum in which a psychiatrist, a therapist, and a person with a mental health diagnosis were interviewed. This Forum was so well-received that it was followed by a second Forum. The church has also had three “In Our Own Voice” presentations for adults and one “Ending the Silence” presentation for High School youth. In addition, the church has sponsored two thirteen-week depression support groups.

Back to top 

14. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

Facebook: @popsaratoga

With its Rotating Safe Car Park, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church has created a model of hospitality for people living in their vehicles in Santa Clara County. In order to best serve its guests—many of whom have mental health challenges—the congregation is engaged in an ongoing process of learning everything they can about mental health and resources for recovery. From that learning, they have compiled an extraordinary list not only of local resources like mental health clinics and peer support community centers, but of phone apps too—like Breathe2Relax, Bipolar Disorder Connect, and Self-Help for Anxiety Management.

Back to top 

15. RCCG Jesus House Silicon Valley

Facebook: @rccgjhsv

When pastor Asogba Bayo came the United from Nigeria, he wasn’t sure where he would land, but he knew God would provide. He continues to rely on God to guide his every step and has made a commitment to the Nigerian community to ensure healing and wholeness abound. RCCG Jesus House has made mental health a priority. Under Pastor Bayo’s direction, Jesus House has invited mental health professionals to speak, train, and lead workshops; started a mental health friendly ministry, built a mental health library, collected local resources; and provided space for recovery programs. Pastor Bayo is committed to the mental of both the church leadership and the congregation and helped put on the 2019 Pastor’s Mental Health Symposium. Jesus House remains a bridge for the Nigerian community and a beacon of hope for individuals managing their mental health.

Back to top 

16. The River Church Community

ADDRESS: 670 Lincoln Ave, Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95126

Phone: (408) 252-5500

Paster Randy and Wendy Capistrano and The River cares deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of its congrigation and community. So we have developed a close relationship and partnership with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) Santa Clara County to provide resources and support and help iradicate the social stigma of mental illness and discremination many experience that can make their problem worse, making it difficult to recover and heal!

In addition, The River’s partures regularly preach on the topic of mental health; invite mental health professionals to lead seminars and workshops for the congrigation and community; host a NAMI-led support group; and have incorporated learning about mental health into their Discipleship programs and small groups to encourage a holistic approach to healing and growth. We are hopeful and exited to bring healing to Bay Area and a better future to our community and families so much so that our goal is to raise funds and establish a Transformation Center (TC) in the greater East Side of San Jose, one of the most hurting area of Bay Area!

While our support groups are not a replacement for therapy, medication, and doctor visits, they are a safe place to find strength, hope and great future through connection with people on a similar journey.

Back to top 

17. Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Facebook: @sfoasj

Saint Francis established 3GEN+ Mental Health Ministry to serve the 3 GENerations: youth, parents, and elders (and everyone in between). The mission of 3GEN+ is to educate, advocate, and accompany those affected by Mental Illness. Some goals include:

1) To end the silence about talking about real and painful feelings and real and painful illness;

2) To empower staff and volunteers to serve with confidence and competence the emotional and spiritual needs of parish members;

3) To encourage the clergy to preach about mental and emotional health and the roles of faith and spirituality in well-being and wholeness; and

4) To draw from Catholic wisdom on the power of centering and grounding in prayer.

Back to top 

18. Saint Lucy Catholic Church

Facebook: @saintlucyparish

During the pandemic, Saint Lucy created a virtual support group called “Hope and Healing.” One participant said: “We delve deep sometimes into issues that make us feel vulnerable, but I’m comfortable we have a sacred space in which to share.” St. Lucy has also helped to host showings of the films Angst and Like with panel discussions on mental health afterwards. In addition to observing mental health awareness month with homilies and prayers, St. Lucy continues to provide mental health trainings for its members, including MH 101, “In Our Own Voice,” and “Be Sensitive, Be Brave.”

Back to top 

19. St. Simon Catholic Parish

Facebook: @stsimonschool

After attending a Mental Health 101 presentation done for Staff at St. Simon Catholic Parish, Father Brendan McGuire preached a sermon entitled “Illness to Wellness: I to We.” Moving from isolation to community lies at the heart of what St. Simon’s Mental Health Ministry Team is working to do. With ongoing opportunities for Staff, Teachers, and Parishioners to learn about the symptoms of mental illness and resources for recovery, with a lively group of people gathering in support of the NAMI Walk, with special mental health presentations like “Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays,” and with the signing of a “No Stigma Pledge” during Mass, St. Simon’s seeks as St. Mechthild of Magdeburg put it, to “live welcoming to all.”

Back to top 

20. Santa Teresa Catholic Church

Facebook: @santateresachurch

Santa Teresa displays its mental health ministry prominently on its website. For years, the congregation has faithfully participated in the annual NAMI Walk; has held a candlelight prayer vigil during mental health awareness week in October; has hosted speakers and film discussions on topics related to mental health; and has made brochures with mental health resources available after every Mass.

Back to top 

21. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

Seeking to be a diverse community of God’s love where each person is valued, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church has been working on having an inclusive ministry for many decades. About 25 years ago, St. Paul’s alongside other church partners built the organization that is now run by Life-Moves and serves people with mental health issues as they transition into stable housing. In 2021, St. Paul’s started a partnership with “Front Door Communities” to bring care and assistance for the most vulnerable people in downtown San Jose. In addition, St. Paul’s has ongoing sermons, prayers, and presentations on mental health and has formed support groups, including one that addresses trauma.

Back to top 

22. Venture Christian Church

Facebook: @venturechurch

Venture offers three mental health support groups—one for women, one for men, and one for families. Called “Living with Hope and Mental Health,” the groups are advertised like this: If mental illness has impacted you or your family, you’re not alone. We provide spiritual encouragement and a place to belong. While our support groups are not a replacement for therapy, medication, or doctor visits, they are a safe place to find strength through connection with people on a similar journey. In addition to these groups, Venture has also produced a series of stunning videos that show members talking honestly about their mental health. These videos have been used as testimonials in Worship.

Back to top 

23. Urban Sanctuary

Facebook: @urbansanctuarysj

Situated between City Hall and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in downtown San Jose, Urban Sanctuary has been on a journey of learning how to best serve its neighbors. At first, the congregation provided meals to those who were passing by with their backpacks and shopping carts, but the congregation saw that food—even lovingly prepared and distributed—did little to create change. The congregation went looking for a way to do more and found it in the Recovery Café Model. Urban Sanctuary gave birth to Recovery Café San Jose, creating a dynamic community that empowers those healing from trauma, mental health challenges, substance use, and homelessness to achieve purpose and self-determination. The congregation also values the participation of all persons in the worship service, regardless of any physical or mental health struggle. All voices are welcomed at the microphone for prayers, to share stories, to speak freely in classes, and to actively participate in the life of the church.

Back to top 

24. WestGate Church

Facebook: @WestGateChurch

WestGate Church cares deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of its members, so much so that it has developed a partnership with a Christian Counseling Center that provides discounted rates for congregants. In addition, WestGate pastors regularly preach on the topic of mental health; invite mental health professionals to lead seminars and workshops for the congregation; host a NAMI-led support group; and have incorporated learning about mental health into their Discipleship programs to encourage a holistic approach to healing and growth.

Back to top