Scripture is filled with stories of real people, like you and me. Everyday folks, who, in the very midst of their brokenness, are called by name.

Jesus didn’t (and still doesn’t) call people who are highly qualified or perfectly holy, rather He meets people right where they are, inviting them to His table, and offering them a place of belonging.

This is something we all desire: to be welcomed as we are and to receive authentic accompaniment along our journey, which is the heart of Bishop Dolan’s vision for the Mental Health Ministry.

Established in December 2022, the Mental Health Ministry has been an immense gift in our diocese!! It has opened the door to conversations about mental illness, helping those struggling see that they have a place at the table; it has provided countless referrals to individuals seeking help; and it has fostered communal prayer and renewed hope in the Lord for our loved ones in the diocese who have died by suicide.

While the heart of this ministry is the Office of Mental Health Ministry located at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, like a beating heart, the support and resources of this ministry are actively being pulsed out to reach every corner of the diocese.

This is taking place through Bishop Dolan’s vision of Education, Accompaniment, and Advocacy.

Education – individuals are being trained in a “Mental Health First Aid” curriculum, which equips them to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and implement suicide prevention. But more than that, it teaches individuals how to accompany one another. Bishop Dolan hopes to make this training easily available to whoever desires to receive it, and right now it’s starting with our pastors, deacons, religious, and parish staff.

Accompaniment – Bishop Dolan is establishing Mental Health Ministry “hubs” in at least one parish in each of our 15 deaneries, or clusters of parishes.

Each of these parishes will create a welcoming space called “The Well”– named after the woman at the well in Scripture who went to the well in her brokenness and was met with love. Pictured is “The Well” at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

Here, those who are struggling with mental illness, who have a loved one that is struggling, or who have lost a loved one to suicide can gather in peer-to-peer support groups led by individuals who have received “Mental Health First Aid.”

This ministry is all about walking with, and “The Well” is a place where individuals can gather and find support along their journey.

Advocacy – this includes partnering with local leaders to effect policy change, as well as advocating for the person before you in the peer-to-peer setting. Those who receive “Mental Health First Aid” learn how to connect those in need with available resources – from affordable healthcare professionals to other ministries already offered within the parish.

Bishop Dolan’s broader vision is for the parish to become a place of hope and wrap-around services where anyone can find accompaniment in times of need, including those whose lives are impacted by mental illness.

This diocesan Mental Health Ministry is one of the first of its kind, and many other dioceses are looking to our example. Bishop Dolan’s vision was even featured in a Catholic publication from Croatia!

What a gift our Bishop is in helping every member of our flock, and the broader Body of Christ, know that in our exact brokenness – just like the characters in Scripture – we are called by name and we have a seat at the table. If you or someone you love is struggling, know that you belong and the Church is here for you. You will find a multitude of mental health resources at