Diverse Religious & Spiritual Perspectives on Mental Distress/Illness, Mental Wellness, and Healing
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Central Time 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Date: Time:

Please register by sending your request to with your name, email, and phone number. OR YOU CAN REGISTER BY PHONE AT 866-537-7827 AND LEAVE A MESSAGE WITH YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER AND YOU WILL BE CONTACTED/CALLED BACK. Shortly after you register for the teleconference, you will be provided with call-in information to participate. You will be asked to provide an evaluation/response after the session. Your input is important, essential, and will be very much appreciated!

How is the experience of mental or emotional distress, commonly called "mental illness" by some, understood from diverse religious & spiritual perspectives? What can we learn from these perspectives about mental wellness and the healing process? In this teleconference, we will hear from a Tibetan Buddhist assisting mental health consumers in community & inpatient settings to connect with their spirituality, an indigenous shaman from Ecuador, and a Christian pastor leading a ministry to serve people living on the streets of Oakland, California.

Presenters: Bob Manrodt (Buddhist)

Bob Manrodt works as a Spiritual Supports Facilitator, contracted with the state of Pennsylvania, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. He offers presentations about spirituality & recovery, and leads groups on meditation, qigong, mindfulness, and WRAP in state hospital and community settings. He works closely with the Pennsylvania Statewide Peer Network and offers assistance to consumer/survivors to connect with spirituality in whatever way is meaningful to them. On a more personal level, Bob is a survivor of both serious mental and physical illness. In 1969 while in the throes of intense spiritual crisis, Bob was diagnosed as schizophrenic and hospitalized for six months in a state mental hospital. Bob is also a survivor of advanced stages of throat cancer. For most of his life, Bob has practiced and studied many spiritual and psychological teachings from several major traditions. These practices and teachings, particularly meditation techniques, are integral to his ongoing recovery journey. At present, Bob is a Mahayana Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition who honors and supports most spiritual traditions from around the world. For more information, see: Rev. Dr. Jasper Lowery (Christian pastor)

Founder & Executive Director of Urojas Ministries in Oakland, CA Rev. Dr. Jasper Lowery was born and raised in Oakland. He is Founder and Pastor of Urojas

Ministries in Oakland, which specializes in serving people with mental and physical challenges, taking them off the streets one person at a time. In its first ten years, his outreach ministry has touched over fifteen hundred families -- finding homes, jobs, and even family reunification. Rev. Lowery is Co-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Action Council, and the Faith Advisory Council for Alameda County. Through the City Of Oakland he leads the Mayor’s Violence Prevention Act funded through Measure Y as an Area Team Lead Street Outreach. He assisted in the development of Clergy Cares, a group of local pastors addressing violence in their communities through street outreach, social service referrals, education services, health referrals, and crisis response to victims of violence. He is a member of the Planning Council of Alameda County Behavioral Health, as well as the Pool of Consumer Champions. Eduardo Luna (Indigenous)

Eduardo Luna Paredes is an indigenous shaman from Quito, Ecuador. He has his Ph.D in Psychology from Ecuador. In 1999, he traveled to the USA for invitation by the science community of Washington DC to discuss the shamanic experience. Eduardo was chosen to represent the shamans of Ecuador, as ambassador of cultural exchange, to include the North American Tribes (South Dakota/Lakota Siox). He worked many years with the tribes. He is a descendent of the pyramids of Cochasqui, Quitu Cara Tribe (shaman). He is the fifth generation of the shamans of Ecuador. In the winter, he returns to the rainforest of the Andes, of Ecuador, where he comes from. Eduardo works as a traditional shaman; he offers healing sessions, spiritual guidance, and ancestral studies in his home (and by phone) in Annapolis MD. His wife, Brianna Luna Pendleton, will join the teleconference to assist with language translation as needed. Brianna works as a clinical therapist at an outpatient mental health clinic and is conducting research on indigenous narratives on trauma, spirituality, and healing. Rev. Laura L. Mancuso, MS, CRC/CPRP (Interfaith Chaplain -- Teleconference Facilitator)

Rev. Laura L. Mancuso, MS, CRC/CPRP is an interfaith chaplain who has worked for 25 years in leadership roles in the public mental health system at the local, state, and national levels. Laura served as the first Director of the California Mental Health & Spirituality Initiative. She was previously Director of Technical Assistance for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and Project Manager with the County Mental Health Department in Santa Barbara, California. She is the author of the forthcoming STAR Center report, "Guidelines for Mental Health Consumers and Their Supporters: A Report from the NAMI STAR Center Workshop on Multicultural Competence, Intense Spiritual Experiences, and Mental Health." As an ordained interfaith minister, Laura strives to honor all faith traditions, as well as the spiritual paths and life philosophies of those who do not adhere to any religion. She provides energy healing sessions in Santa Barbara, California and spiritual counseling by telephone nationwide. For more information, see

STAR CENTER STAFF: Philip Qualo, J.D. Stephen Kiosk, M.Div., LPC Program Manager Director Phone: 866-537-STAR (7827)

The STAR Center wishes to acknowledge and express thanks to SAMHSA for funding that makes STAR work possible.

The views, ideas, information, and opinions that may be expressed during the teleconference will not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Human Services/SAMHSA/CMHS and should not be construed as such.

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