The Mental Illness Ministry at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church is presenting a pair of forums designed to educate and raise awareness about mental illness.

The forums will be held at 10:15 a.m. Sunday and March 24 in the La Paz Room at the church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave.

The forums are facilitated by Sharon Nielsen and the Rev. Anne Strong.

"Is It Really a Mental Illness?" will be presented Sunday. Unusual behaviors or thoughts are not always symptoms of mental illness. Physical illness, medications and environmental influences can affect the mind and possibly lead to a misdiagnosis. This forum will provide a discussion of organic brain disorders (including dementia), medical disorders and medication side effects that can masquerade as mental illness.

"Mental Illness and Families of Faith" is the topic for March 24. Surveys show that 40 to 60 percent of Americans who seek help with mental health issues turn first to their faith communities for guidance. Unfortunately, in many cases, the response of clergy and congregations is less than helpful. This forum will explore what a congregation can do to nurture ongoing support and care for vulnerable parishioners.

The forums are free and the public is invited.

For more information, call the church at 299-6421.

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