First-ever office for mental health ministry opens in AZ
The Diocese of Phoenix inaugurated the first-ever office for Mental Health Ministry in the state,…
The Diocese of Phoenix inaugurated the first-ever office for Mental Health Ministry in the state, Tuesday.
A ministry created to address an alarming rise in suicides and other mental illness across the nation.
Bishop John P. Dolan’s hope is that the space is one of comfort, strength, and healing, adding the effort isn’t just about bringing awareness to mental health.
He says it’s about helping transform lives, and it’s something that’s personal to him.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen,” he could be heard saying, as he blessed the office for Mental Health Ministry.
While Bishop Dolan was elated to see the ministry open, it was also a bittersweet day for him.
He recently lost his beloved sister, Mary, to suicide.
“I’ve never met a person who really struggled to survive throughout her life. She fought to live,” he told ABC15.
Mary had attempted suicide multiple times and left a final note behind to loved ones.
“To all my friends and family, I am sorry. I hope you continue with your mental health work, John,” said Bishop Dolan.
Though this isn’t his only personal loss to suicide.
His brother Tom, sister Therese and her husband Joe, also took their own life.
He says talking about this has really helped him heal.
“And that’s really what this office is about. Is really trying to get people to talk about it. As painful as it can be, talk about it,” he told ABC15.
Now more than ever, he says more work needs to be done to bring awareness to mental health.
So, for the first time in the 53-year history of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, an office will be dedicated for mental health ministry.
It will serve the 1.1M Catholics who are currently a part of the Diocese of Phoenix.
“This was something that was desperately needed. People wanted to talk about mental health,” he added.
Adding it’s all about meeting people where there are, mental health education, advocacy, and…
“We’re really here, more than anything, to accompany.”
Bishop Dolan tells us this is just the beginning.
“We’re going to have a conversation with one of the congregations in the Vatican about this, so it’s hitting things worldwide, and in some ways it’s kind of nice that Phoenix is the hub of this.”
Bishop Dolan, became the new bishop of the diocese on August 2, 2022, and held a special Mass of Remembrance at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral on September 4.
This mass was the first of its kind in the state, which was dedicated to those who have died by suicide.
Bishop Dolan says the office for Mental Health Ministry would not have been possible without a generous donation from a private foundation, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
The trust was created to honor Virginia Piper’s philanthropic commitment to changing lives and strengthening community.