Dangerous Compassions

helpful sermon on radical mental health

helpful sermon for radical mental health

Yay, the link is up!  I’m happy to share with you the helpful sermon on radical mental health.  Please enjoy and share with anyone.

I was ecstatic to speak my truth clearly, for the local Unitarian Universalist church, and tech worked mostly well.  Here’s the blurb with some of main ideas.


Radical mental health is about being unconditionally valid. Crazy is a normal variation of people. We all belong at the table of humanity.

Radical mental health is also about compassion, seeing a person as a person, and respecting the Mystery. It’s joyful to have choices. We’re pro-choice about medication, and there’s a spectrum of engagement with mainstream medicine, from complete compliance to complete avoidance.

Radical mental health is also about personal empowerment, not just doing what doctor says. I’m in charge of my body and life.

It’s about community. Friends make the best medicine. We create pockets of happiness, and the happiness reverberates out. We build skills together, then bring those skills with us wherever we go.

It’s about building long-term well-being, not being saved at last minute dramatically. It’s one tool in my well-being toolbox. I’m safer with 20 tools rather than two.

There’s a DIY, anarchist motivation, not waiting for someone else, but seeing a need to love one another and doing that.

We’re all the experts of ourselves. The power dynamic feels happier and safer than in a doctor’s office or hospital. The power is shared, and there are no mandated reporters, so we can tell the truth without fear of imprisonment.

Radical mental health as we do it here in Las Vegas is free, no red tape, and much easier than layers of requirements, forms, money, or proving anything.

Together we resist the myth of needing experts for suicide prevention. We’re all helping each other all the time. A psychiatrist never saved me, but love has saved me.

I gave this sermon on radical mental health for liberation and love.

important to us

I chose the quotes and songs, and I gave the sermon.  Ming cried, but not during the parts where he was reading.   We watched the video together yesterday, and he cried more.

This service was very important to us.  Ming cried because he’s so happy seeing me do my life’s work, and so happy supporting it.  He finds it moving.  The sermon is a 17:17 minute variation of the same talk I’ve given to activists, some nurses in the Bay Area, some peers up in Canada, and at a few street medics trainings.

The different parts came together.  In the breakout room afterward for conversation about the service, there were around 20 people.  I’d planned to bail on the breakout room–I knew I’d need to wind down.  But it was fun to converse about the ideas of the helpful radical mental health sermon.  I liked hearing feedback about people’s lives and experiences, especially their experiences with mental health in their families.

Sometimes people don’t want to talk about mental health at all.  Some people look the other way, like mental health is dirty or shameful to discuss.  I was glad many UUers came into the service and the breakout room, hungry to talk about mental health, physical health, love, and liberation.  I hope we make connections for more understanding of difference and disability justice.


Here are the songs we used for the service.  The first is I Am Safe by Beautiful Chorus.  I love their music for helping me feel grounded and ok.  Affirmations over and over!  Yeah!

Two years ago I heard this song for the first time in a chair yoga class at the YMCA taught by a trauma-informed yoga teacher.  It took a lot of searching to find online afterward–so glad I kept trying.

This is a sweet version of this Mindy Dillard song You Are Not Alone that I’ve liked for a long time.

This song by my friend Win Frederick is important to me.  Win is part of the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective.  The song is called Wasting the Dark.  My favorite part is “If I showed you more, would you show me more?”

Last was the song Red by my community member Robert Majors.  Robbie sang this song at my mom’s memorial service.


Here are quotes that were part of the service.  These quotes matter to me.

“It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love. It is when we are wounded by our own hands or the hands of others that love should come to cure us. Else what use is love at all?” –Oscar Wilde

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” –Audre Lorde

I also pulled a quote about narratives of liberation from this blog post by radical mental health rock star Sascha Altman Debrul.

Crazywise – Revisioning Narratives of Psychosis

benediction and chalice lighting, extinguishing

I wrote these parts of the sermon.  Please feel free to use for your service or ritual.

  • Blessed are the crazy.
  • Blessed are the creative.
  • Blessed are all partnerships and families touched by mental health challenges.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers and visionaries.
  • Blessed are all who feel.
  • Blessed are the caregivers.
  • Blessed are the healers.
  • Blessed are the transformers of culture.
  • Blessed are all the beings of earth.

We light the chalice with curiosity
and attentive care for all of creation.
As earth teems with Life and the seasons change,
we thank our generous planet
for nurturing us to learn and grow.
Thank you for opening our hearts to one another
and for another chance to love.

We extinguish the chalice with deep respect
for people of many abilities and needs.
We respect those imprisoned in jails, group homes,
care facilities, hospitals, and psychiatric facilities.
We respect the unhoused.
We respect those who are considered different and shunned:
people who dance to a new beat.
May new ways of being heal society’s wounds.
May all be happy with a rich, wild happiness of truth.


I worked hard preparing this helpful sermon on radical mental health and the whole service, and I’m grateful to the friends who helped make it happen.  Speaking my truth is a big part of my life’s work.

Special thanks to my friend Ariel whose whole idea it was, to make this talk into a sermon for church.  Months ago I was with Ariel and Ming at a park, practicing on them my talk for the peers in Canada.  It was then Ariel realized it would make a good sermon.  What a smartie!  I never would have thought of that.  Then she talked to people, and helped make it possible.

It’s a joy to do the hard work to prepare, and hard work to recover.  It took hours for me to wind down after the service, then days for me to come back to center.  I like being “on” with alert attentiveness, but too much adrenaline gets mixed in.

Being social is difficult.  I’m grateful that people are patient with my ways.  Thank you for being patient with my ways.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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