Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan co-edited book 'Responding to Suicide'

Mental Health

San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan has co-edited a pastoral handbook, "Responding to Suicide," to assist Catholic ministry leaders.

Bishop Dolan's own life story includes the suicide of two siblings, the suicide of one of the spouses of one of his siblings, and an attempted suicide by a third sibling.

"Our goal is to communicate to Catholic leaders that tending to people with a mental illness is not a program a parish can offer, it's an approach, an attitude," said Bishop Dolan in this interview with The Southern Cross. "If pastors have an appreciation for the science of psychology, and not dismiss it in favor of judgement, the way we address people with mental disorders will be better."

The California Conference of Bishops released a pastoral statement on mental health in 2018, calling the "ministering to those who suffer from mental illness is an essential part of the pastoral care of the Church."


A companion workbook for survivors of suicide will be published in January. “Responding to Suicide” is available from Ave Maria Press.

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Mental Health Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 – Website

Local/Diocesan Mental Health Resource Pages

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Archdiocese of San Francisco

Diocese of Fresno – Catholic Charities of Fresno

Diocese of Monterey – Catholic Charities of Monterey

Diocese of Oakland

Diocese of Orange

Diocese of Sacramento

Diocese of San Bernardino

Diocese of San Diego

Diocese of San Jose – Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Diocese of Santa Rosa – Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Diocese of Stockton

Other Resources

A Pastoral Response to Mental Illness - National Catholic Partnership on Disability