After losing three siblings to suicide, Bishop John P. Dolan is a remarkable example of resilience and reliance on God. Just months after his installation in August of 2022, he put his faith in action and opened the doors to the new Mental Health Ministry at the Diocese of Phoenix.

In 2020, Bishop Dolan published a book called “When a Loved One Dies by Suicide,” addressing misconceptions and the healing process after losing a loved one to suicide. But his work did not end there. God knew to use Bishop Dolan’s passion for mental health awareness within the Diocese of Phoenix. In December 2022, Bishop Dolan and members of the Diocese of Phoenix cut the ribbon at the ceremony and opened the doors to the Mental Health Ministry.

“This office is going to open up new avenues for accompanying people who are struggling with mental health and also accompanying people who have members in their family struggling with mental health,” Bishop Dolan remarked on the Creating Future Leaders podcast.

It is important to note that this ministry is not a substitute for professional help. Instead, the Mental Health Ministry intends to provide a space for mental health to be recognized and assisted within the church.

“We are focusing on education and advocacy. We are trying to get the message out that mental health is real in our society,” Bishop Dolan said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. We also need to garner assistance from every angle to help alleviate the pain.” The ministry will lead and train the church leaders on mental health, signs to look for, and creating a safe environment.

Faith in Action

Following Christ’s example, Bishop Dolan and the Diocese of Phoenix are taking steps to walk alongside those struggling with mental health issues. The church must have a seat at the table for mental health awareness. The Mental Health Ministry will make a tangible difference within the church, including diffusing the mental health stigma and the lives seeking help.

A Beacon of Hope

With the help of the dedicated staff, priests, deacons, and the support offered, the Mental Health Ministry will make a powerful impact on the lives seeking help. Bishop Dolan intends this program to be a beacon of hope and a strength to families within the Diocese of Phoenix.

Catholic Education Arizona commends the Diocese for adding the Mental Health Ministry and believes it will complement its mission to serve society and change lives. “People have been crying out for this type of ministry for so long, and we have you to thank for getting it rolling for us,” said Deb Preach, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Education Arizona.

“I think many people were not able to cry out. I think they felt as though they were alone. But they’re not alone,” he said. “This office will help people realize they are not alone and that they can communicate this reality that is facing us all in our society.”

For more information regarding the Mental Health Ministry, visit the Mental Health Ministry website.