Home/Stay Informed/All Diocesan Articles

All Diocesan Articles

Catholic Church Responds to Mental Health Crisis Across the U.S. and Globally

Posted on May 25, 2024 in: News

Catholic Church Responds to Mental Health Crisis Across the U.S. and Globally

The percentage of U.S. adults diagnosed with depression has risen almost 10% since 2015, reaching 29% according to a 2023 Gallup poll, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost half of U.S. teens report experiencing persistent sadness and hopelessness. The Catholic Church is responding.

Following a 2023 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops initiative, Catholics across the country have been working in their local communities to address the mental health crisis. 

In the Archdiocese of Washington, Auxiliary Bishop Evelio Menjivar offered a May 11 Mass for people with mental health challenges.

“Those living with a mental illness should never bear these burdens alone, nor should their families who struggle heroically to assist their loved ones,” the bishop said at the Mass in Landover Hills, Maryland, according to a report by the Catholic Standard.

“We Christians must encounter them, accompany them, comfort them, include them, and help bear their burdens in solidarity with them, offering our understanding, prayers, and tangible, ongoing support,” he noted. 

In Emmitsburg, Maryland, the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is hosting a Mental Wellness Retreat under the patronage of St. Dymphna, whose feast day is May 30. (Traditionally, the feast day of the young saint who is patron of the abused and mentally ill was May 15.)

“We are hoping to reach people who live with their own mental health challenges and their loved ones,” Melissa Freymann, a clinical mental health therapist who is organizing the retreat in her role as a mental health ministry consultant for the archdiocese, told CNA

Out west, St. Patrick Catholic Community Parish in Scottsdale, Arizona, is hosting a mental health fair May 18–19 in honor of the feast of St. Dymphna.

The Diocese of Phoenix’s Office of Mental Health Ministry will attend the fair, according to The Catholic Sun. At the fair, the St. Patrick community will bless a “Woman of the Well” painting by Glenda Stevens and display it in their “House of Mercy” building. The diocese hopes to use the biblical image of the well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman as a designated place of encounter to gather and grow together. 

The Diocese of Phoenix also recently offered its second annual “Green Mass” on May 5 honoring and praying for professionals, caregivers, and clergy who serve people with mental health concerns. The Mass brought social workers, pastoral caregivers, and counselors together at Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral, where volunteers handed out green ribbons to represent growth and new beginnings, as well as St. Dymphna prayer cards, according to The Catholic Sun

Ministering to people who suffer with mental illness and those who live and care for them spans not just the U.S. but also places like the Vatican, South Africa, and India.

The India chapter of the Catholic Association of Mental Health Ministers (CMHM) organized its first ever National Mental Health conference at Nirjhari Conference Center, Carmelaram in Bengaluru, Karnataka, from April 5–6. 

The CMHM India worked with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s health care commission to host the retreat, which highlighted the state of mental health in India, the role of the Church in mental health ministry, and the difference between spiritual and mental health. 

More than 250 attendees, including priests, religious sisters, and medical professionals gathered for the event, and speakers included Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore; Bishop Thomas Tharayil, the ecclesiastical adviser of CMHM India; and Deacon Ed Shoener, co-founder and president of CMHM.

Shoener helped to found CMHM to build mental health ministries in the Catholic Church in 2019 after his daughter, Katie, who struggled with bipolar disorder, died by suicide in 2016.

“The conference in India demonstrates the worldwide need for mental health ministry,” Shoener told CNA in an email.

In January, Shoener attended a Vatican mental health conference, the first of its kind. Mental health ministers from around the world, including Moldova, India, and South Africa, gathered with Vatican officials to discuss pastoral care and accompaniment.

“Regardless of cultural differences, mental illness impacts every community, and Christ wants his Church to be there to accompany people without fear or stigma,” Shoener noted.

By Kate Quiñones

This article was originally published on May 15, 2024 by the Catholic News Agency


Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

Carlo Acutis to be First Millennial Saint: Pope Francis Recognizes Miracle for Canonization
Pope Francis has recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Carlo Acutis, paving the way for him to become the first millennial saint. The Italian computer-coding teenager who died of cancer in 2006 is known for his great devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The recognition of the second miracle attributed to Acutis’ intercession makes it possible that Acutis could be canonized during the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year. In a decree on May 23, Pope Francis approved the miraculous healing of a 21-year-old girl ...

Read More

Saint of the Month- The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
  The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church is a significant celebration in the Catholic liturgical calendar. It occurs on the Monday following Pentecost Sunday, highlighting Mary’s role as the spiritual mother of all believers and the Church itself. This feast recognizes her unique position in Christian theology and underscores her importance in the life of the faithful. Mary holds a special place in Catholic devotion as the Mother of God (Theotokos). Her “yes” to the angel Gabriel’s announcement paved the way for the Inc...

Read More

 Catholic Charities Seeking Sponsors for Annual Golf Tournament
  Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich is looking for sponsors to support their 18th Annual Catholic Charities’ Golf Tournament on July 8th, 2024 at Great Neck Country Club in Waterford   What a great way to highlight your business while helping those in need in your community!   All proceeds of the tournament will go to support the Catholic Charities’ Case Management/Basic Needs Program, which provides compassionate human services to individuals and families, no matter their faith, race, ethnicity, age gende...

Read More

Eucharistic Pilgrimage Brings Christ to the World
During Pentecost weekend I participated in an historic event in New Haven, Connecticut. I was not there to take part in another protest at Yale University, or even to attend any of the graduation ceremonies taking place there. Instead, I joined hundreds of other Catholics for the launch of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. This four-pronged pilgrimage, which began simultaneously in New Haven, San Francisco, Brownsville, Texas and the Mississippi Headwaters in northern Minnesota, will cover 6,500 miles over the next two months. These four routes will converge in Ind...

Read More

The Giver of Rosary Beads

Posted on May 26, 2024 in: News


The Giver of Rosary Beads
'Diakonia - Instruments of God's Charity' As children of God, I’ve often wondered if Jesus has a special name or nickname for each of us. There was Peter “The Rock,” “Doubting Thomas” and John the “Beloved Disciple.” If Jesus has a special name for me, perhaps it would be “The Giver of Rosary Beads.” As each of us live out our faith journeys, we are shaped by events and our relationship with God can take on new directions. At the end of 1990, with increasing family and work stress, the new direction for...

Read More

Rest in Peace Sr. Diane Gillis, DHS

Posted on May 22, 2024 in: News


Rest in Peace Sr. Diane Gillis, DHS
Sr. Diane Gillis, 81, a member of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2024, at St. Joseph Living Center in Windham. Born in Washington DC on January 27, 1943, Diane Cecilia was the oldest of 13 children of Richard P. and Bernice (Kitzman) Gillis. She entered religious life in 1961 and made her religious profession on June 1, 1962. She was then known as Sr. Anne Cecilia. After receiving her B.A. in education from Diocesan Teachers College in Woodstock, Sr. Diane ministered in schools in Vermont, Bridgeport, Moosup, and Chicopee, M...

Read More

Annual Catholic Appeal





Latest Articles
Knights of Columbus Support Local Special Olympics with Generous Donations from Annual Fundraiser
A Prayer for Father's Day
Embracing the Extraordinary in Ordinary Time
Gratitude and Community Spirit: Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Thanks YOU!
Holy Hour to Pray for Those to be Ordained to the Priesthood
Banns of Ordination
Eucharistic Pilgrimage Shows Unity Among Diversity
Calendar of Events
Recently Added Galleries
Click to view album: Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (NDCCW) 46th Annual Layette
Click to view album: Nativity photos
Click to view album: Archbishop Kevin S. Randall - Episcopal Ordination, Nov. 4, 2023
Click to view album: Rite of Election
Signup for Weekly Newsletter


    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294