Community Missions and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center have added additional breadth of interfaith representation to the Interfaith Community Prayer Service for Mental Illness Recovery & Understanding, set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 822 Cleveland Ave., Niagara Falls.
Added to the list of participants are:
•Dr. Mohamed S. Ahmed, M.D., Ph.D., P.C, of Masjid Tawba of Niagara Falls, will offer prayers from the Muslim tradition. Ahmed is also medical director at Roswell Park Hematology-Oncology of Niagara.
•Dr. Jeannette M Ludwig, associate professor of romance languages and literatures at the University at Buffalo, will be offering prayer from the Buddhist tradition.
"The Niagara Region is very diverse," said Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions. "Community Missions and Memorial Medical Center provide mental health services to individuals and families from many different faith traditions and communities. It is wonderful to see such a diversity of faiths come together to pray for those struggling with mental illness, and to speak with a unified voice against the stigma that is unjustly associated with mental illness."
The interfaith prayer service is part of Mental Illness Awareness Week. This national event is designed to raise public awareness about mental illness, break down the unnecessary stigma that too often discourages people from seeking help when needed, and assure individuals with mental illness that there is hope and recovery is possible.
"There is a growing awareness that, as a society, we need to improve and expand access to appropriate treatment," said Robyn Krueger, executive director of Community Missions. "Those who struggle with mental illness are our family, friends and neighbors. They need to know their community cares, and an interfaith prayer service such as this shows that we do."
Close to one in five adults in the U.S. (43.76 million) experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 25 (13.6 million) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Nearly 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14.
Information about treatment and recovery programs offered by Community Missions and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and other mental health providers will be available at the prayer service.
The service is open to the public, with light refreshments to follow. For more information, contact Breese at 716-285-3403, ext. 2259, or [email protected].