Fiat Program on Faith and Mental Health

Strengthening Pastoral Accompaniment for those with Mental Health Challenges

The present era has been described as a mental health crisis, converging with heightened experiences of stress, isolation, and social and political discord. An April 2022 report from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey indicates 30.8 percent of US adults identify with anxiety or depressive disorder—an increase from 20 percent in 2019—and one in twenty persons identify with serious mental illness. Such experiences raise the question of how the Church is to respond. What is the role of the priest, the minister, and the Catholic educator in caring for and accompanying persons with mental health challenges and their loved ones?

Rooted in the efforts of the McGrath Institute for Church Life to form faithful Catholic leaders, the Fiat Program on Faith and Mental Health generates research, teaching, and formation opportunities to inform and strengthen sacramental and pastoral care for persons with mental challenges and their families.  By uplifting the dignity and goodness of each person, the Fiat Program assists dioceses, parishes, and communities in fostering a culture of communion wherein the whole person is embraced and can experience the grace of Christian friendship and the sacramental life.

Generating research that attends to the dignity and integrity of the human person. The Fiat Program brings the Catholic intellectual and moral life into dialogue with the psychological sciences to inform a vision of pastoral care for persons with mental health challenges.

Fostering education on faith and mental health. The Fiat Program offers webinars, trainings, and additional educational resources for use in parishes and among church ministries, in addition to university courses.

Forming pastoral leadership. The Fiat offers formation for priests and religious, lay ministers, and educators on pastoral care for persons with mental health challenges. Formation opportunities are integrated across the McGrath Institute’s existing programs and include also an annual fellows cohort in mental health ministry.