Bishops on Mental Health: USCCB Launches Campaign to Spread Awareness

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Archbishop Borys Gudziak, of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is sounding the alarm about mental health.

“There is a veritable mental health crisis in the United States,” Archbishop Gudziak said.

So U.S. bishops want to do something about it.

With this public service announcement, the USCCB launched the National Catholic Mental Health Campaign.

We spoke with Archbishop Gudziak, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, about what inspired them to act.

“We have a lot of issues, teenage suicide, but also suicide in the advanced age group, over-80, a lot of distress among clergy, religious and of course among the population at large,” Archbishop Gudziak said.

The campaign comes at a time when depression and suicidal tendencies are on the rise.

In 2021, 22.8% of American adults, or nearly 58 million people, were classified as having a mental illness, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.

For more than 14 million people, that illness was considered severe and yet, there’s still a stigma surrounding it.

“We need to get over that stigma and we need to minister — we in the Church, we’re not medical professionals we’re ministers, so we’re looking at a mental health ministry,” Archbishop Gudziak said.

The bishops are hoping through prayer, discussion, and advocacy, “we can remove the stigma, spread awareness, and make sure everyone who needs help, gets help. 

“You’re not alone. The Church is with you,” Archbishop Gudziak said. “We want people to know that the problem that you have, the cross that you carry is important.”The bishops held a novena in the month of October. You can still find the daily prayers on their website and search mental health novena.