Parish Mental Health Ministry

Bringing Christ to families and those experiencing mental health challenges.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in five Americans has a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder. That means roughly 20% of parishioners struggle with a mental illness.

It is our mission to ensure no one feels alone in their struggle with mental illness or their role as a caregiver.

This is not group therapy, but a ministry in which members support others during their time of need and to grow spiritually in their relationship with God. One does not need to be Catholic to participate, but Catholic prayers and devotions will be used.

What you will gain:

  • Spiritual Companionship -Mental health ministry team members lead small groups that offer spiritual support to those with lived experience of mental health struggles and their families or caregivers. 
  • Practical Support – Ministry members are familiar with the many public and private support services available to families in their local communities and will share a list of resources that may help those who are needing additional support. They stay in touch with those families using community services to see if they are receiving the help they need.
  • Education – The ministry team provides mental health educational opportunities for the larger parish community on a regular basis.

For questions or to find a ministry nearest you view listing below.

If interested in starting a Parish Mental Health Ministry, please email us at MHM@ccharities.com 

The following parishes currently have a Mental Health Ministry. Please reach out to them directly to get involved.

If you would like to start a Mental Health Ministry at your parish, email us at MHM@ccharities.com

Northern KC

St. Charles Borromeo – Kansas City

900 NE Shady Ln Dr
Kansas City, MO 64118
CMHM@stcharleskc.com

St. James – Liberty

309 S Stewart Rd
Liberty, MO 64068
chuck@stjames-liberty.org

Holy Family – Kansas City

919 NE 96th St
Kansas City, MO 64155
mentalhealthministry@holyfamily.com
https://www.holyfamily.com/mental-health-ministry

St. Therese, North – Kansas City

7207 MO-9
Kansas City, MO 64152
mhm@sttheresenorth.org

St. Gabriel Archangel – Kansas City

4737 N Cleveland Ave
Kansas City, MO 64117
MHM@stgabrielskc.com

East of KC

St. Mark’s Catholic Church – Independence

3736 S Lee’s Summit Rd
Independence, MO 64055
MHM@stmarksparish.com
https://www.stmarkmentalhealthministry.com/

St. Jude Catholic Church

2001 S Broadway
Oak Grove, MO 64075
kcsjcatholicMHM@gmail.com

St. George Catholic Church

716 S 3rd Street
Odessa, MO 64076
kcsjcatholicMHM@gmail.com

St. John LaLande – Blue Springs

805 NW R D Mize Rd
Blue Springs, MO 64015
positivewellbeing@sjlparish.org
https://stjohnlalande.com/mental-health-ministry

St. Robert Bellarmine – Blue Springs

4313 MO-7
Blue Springs, MO 64014
mhm@srbcatholic.org

Southern KC

St. Elizabeth – Kansas City

2 E 75th St
Kansas City, MO 64114
mhm@stekc.org
https://sites.google.com/stekc.org/mentalhealthministry/home

St. Regis – Kansas City

8941 James A Reed Rd
Kansas City, MO 64138
positivewellbeing@regischurch.org

St. Sabina – Belton

700 Trevis Ave
Belton, MO 64012
mhm@stsabinaparish.org

Parish Mental Health Ministry Events

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs from Parishioners:

Is Parish Mental Health Ministry for teens/minors?

While we know there is a great need for our youth, the Parish MHM are not able to provide direct help to those 18 and under for liability reasons. What we are doing to address this is t educate parents, and offer resources to parents to get their child the help they need.

Is Parish Mental Health Ministry for Catholics only?

No, the ministry is open to those of any faith, however, we use Catholic resources and prayers for most of the small groups and events. The ministry was organized with the Catholic Parishioner in mind, so what we do aligns with the needs of the parishioners. We do have a list of non-Catholic resources available to those who need them.

Can I receive accompaniment from a Parish Mental Health Ministry team if not a parishioner at that parish?

Absolutely. The hope is that these ministries eventually grow to every parish in the diocese; however, we also want to serve and engage with people who have need for the programming we offer, whether they belong to the host parish or not. The events are advertised to the whole diocese, and many parishes collaborate with each other to make these ministries more effective.

Are there counselors who accept medicare, insurance or have a paycale?

There are, though they are often harder to come by and may not have as much availability. Catholic providers are often in private practice and do not accept insurance. In our resource guide, we have tried to provide the most updated information for each provider.

FAQ from Volunteers/those interested in volunteering:

What is the time commitment if I want to become a volunteer?

Trainings are the biggest time commitment up front. Depending on the role you are interested in helping through, you may be asked to complete any or all of the following:

-Mental Health First Aid (8hrs)

-Virtus (4hrs, unless previously attended, then the refresher is shorter)

-Mandated Reporter Training (1.5 hrs)

-Small group facilitation training (2 hrs)

Roles and their time commitments vary. The most time intensive role is a small group leader, as you will have prep work and need to complete all the trainings mentioned above. The frequency of meetings is really up to you. There are roles such as helping set up at events, prayer warriors and resource companions that will take less time and not all the trainings are required for these.

Talk with your parish Team Leader for more details about the roles and responsibilities.

Where do I find the training sessions required to be a volunteer?

1. Mental Health First Aid: There are lots of places that offer the course, however the free ones are harder to come by. The Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers offers MHFA courses for free to members. Become a member for free here and ask them about future classes. They plan on hosting these every couple of months. Or you can go to the Missouri Dept of Mental Health and take one of their free options for Adults. Here are links to both pages :

The Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers

Missouri Dept of Mental Health

Occasionally we are able to host one of these if we can find an instructor who has a reasonable fee. Dates for these will be shared with volunteers as they arise.

2. The second training is Virtus, which is required for all volunteers. You can find and register for upcoming trainings here.

If you have gone through the training but need to renew, the steps are simple. You will need to login into your Virtus account at www.virtus.org and it will show on the home page what you need to complete to be up to date. If you have trouble accessing your account or knowing where to go, please email ocyp@diocesekcsj.org to request assistance.

3. Mandated Reporter Training

The easiest way to access this is through your Virtus Home Page. You will see a box that lists Mandated Reporter, and you will click on Training Guidelines which will take you to this site where you will register for training. Your parish Safe Environment Coordinator will be able to update your status in Virtus once you let them know you have completed the training.

4. Small group facilitation practice training. New volunteers should ask their Team Lead for the most up-to-date training information.

Do I have to have certain qualifications to be a volunteer?

No, everyone who is interested in helping with these ministries has a reason they find it important, and that’s what matters. Since we do not offer professional mental health services, there is no need to have a background in the mental health field.

Am I expected to share my personal contact information with others if I become a volunteer?

Those interested in help from the MHM should contact the parish’s MHM email with requests. It is actually recommended not to share your contact information with those seeking help from the MHM. This protects you from being contacted outside of your planned volunteer commitment.

Sometimes those struggling with mental health do not have the boundaries to stop themselves from treating you as a therapist, and this is not your role. We are not a hotline and if someone needs assistance, we always provide them with a list of resources where they can go for additional help.

FAQs from Parish Staff:

How do we start a Parish Mental Health Ministry at our parish?

Contact Marie Justin at mjustin@ccharities.com and she will set up a meeting with you to walk you through the process, the ways in which Catholic Charities helps, and the responsibilities of the parish and the parish volunteers.

When should we send a parishioner to the Parish Mental Health Ministry team members?

If they are seeking spiritual accompaniment, resources, or education to help them through a difficult time and want peer -to-peer support from fellow parishioners. If they are needing immediate assistance, 911 or 988 should be contacted. The MHM do not offer professional services.

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