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2nd Annual Day of Prayer
For Behavioral Health and Understanding

Article Melinda Ricossa, Spirituality Initiative Co-Chair

For the second time in San Mateo County, the National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health Recovery and Understanding was recognized on Oct. 3. BHRS and NAMI co-sponsored the observance by inviting faith and secular leaders as well as consumers to participate in the hour long event.

Faith and secular leaders around the country publicly recommited themselves to replace misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth, inclusion and love in order to offer hope and support. The event, held in Redwood City, included members from various faiths and communities including, Christian, Islam, Native American, Pacific Islander and more. The Spirituality Initiative worked with Helene Zimmerman, the Executive Director of NAMI, in organizing the event which included 14 organizations, (community, faith and provider based), tabling and speaking at the event. Rev. Frazier opened the event with a prayer and Supervisor Don Horsley provided the welcoming address and presented the Spirituality Initiative with a framed proclamation.

There were speeches/prayers from several of the faith based community as well as a community member, who gave a testimonial on how his faith helped with his recovery. While the diverse group of speakers represented a number of different religions and beliefs, their support for the behavioral health community was unanimous.

Many touched on the fact that mental health issues do not reflect a personal or spiritual failing, and the important role that faith can play in the recovery process.

Maha Elegenaidi speaks to the crowd“As God is merciful and compassionate, I am called to be merciful and compassionate in my daily life, said Maha Elegenaidi, CEO of Islamic Networks Group, in her presentation. “Those who are suffering any form of mental illness are certainly among those who have the most claims on Muslim mercy and compassion. Let us pray that religion and science can be seen as working together to lift this burden for anyone who suffers from mental illness.”

Nearly 80 people attended this event.