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Dear Friends,

As Saint Pope John Paul II said, "Whoever suffers from mental illness 'always' bears God's image and likeness in himself, as does every human being. In addition, he 'always' has the inalienable right not only to be considered as an image of God and therefore as a person, but also to be treated as such."
National Mental Health Awareness Week is October 4 – 9
National Depression Screening Day is October 8

We all have experienced various types of stresses since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and for those of us who live with a mental illness the stress may have been intensified. If you’ve been at all concerned about your emotional health, or the health of a loved one, or perhaps just curious, I encourage you to explore the website of a wonderful organization, Mental Health America. It contains a wealth of information on mental health and offers screening tools. It also contains information on prevention strategies of and many other resources.

I strongly encourage you to take a simple mental health test at https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/

Please do not hesitate to contact St. James Mental Health & Wellness Ministry for more information on mental illness and resources in our area.

Nancy Granger, Parish Mental Health Nurse


An interesting read: Why it’s often hard for people to recognize their own mental illness
Watch the related video here

A Prayer for Mental Health

God of love, we celebrate our faith and your encouragement for acceptance, wholeness, and inclusion of all your people. We give thanks for this church and the ways we seek to live out Jesus’ commandment to love You, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. During this Mental Health Awareness Week, we pray for all people who live with mental illness, particularly those who go untreated due to inability to access care.

We particularly pray for an end to the stigma of mental challenges and especially for those who do not realize they live with a mental illness that can be treated.  We pray for families torn apart by mental health diseases and addictions, and for families that hold-on-to one another during difficult times of illness. We pray for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and those who will take their own lives on this very day.

We pray for children, teens, and young adults learning how to live with newly diagnosed brain diseases. We pray for people burdened by labels and stereotypes, and those who are victims of bullying and discrimination because of their differences. Help our society to be more compassionate of differently-abled people.

We pray for mental health caregivers, for scientific researchers, and for professionals who seek to bring compassion, treatment and healing to those who suffer from brain disorders.

We give thanks for the many gifts that people who live with brain disorders bring into the world and celebrate the creative genius of artists, scientists, authors, athletes, scholars, business leaders, actors, musicians, inventors, and presidents who live with mental illness. We applaud those who shine light on their illness so others may feel less stigmatized. Almighty and awesome God, as the mysteries of the human brain continue to unfold, we remain in awe of the intricate ways in which we are created in your image.

We ask for the intercession of saints who have gone before us who themselves have experienced mental health struggles: Saints Dymphna (patron of those with mental illness, incest victims and those whose parents died), Benedict Joseph Labre (patron of those with illnesses of the human mind), Christina the Astonishing (patroness of those with severe mental illness), Venerable Matt Talbot (patron of those with addictions and alcoholism).

We implore the kind and loving intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of healing.
May we always strive to be reflections of your love in this world. Amen.


Mission Statement: The Mental Health & Wellness Ministry of St. James Cathedral serves those who experience mental health challenges or other life occurrences which disrupt mental and spiritual wellness. We acknowledge that people who live with mental illness, like any other illness, are deserving of love, compassion, respect and inclusion. We strive to demonstrate these core principles through companionship, education, support and prayer.
The ministry began in 2011 and was driven by the needs of our community and inspired by the philosophical beliefs and practices of Rev. Craig Rennebohm, who founded the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle. The work of the ministry is rooted in Rennebohm’s model of a companioning presence: coming side-by-side with those who are struggling.
I am Nancy Granger and came to St. James in 2013 to serve as the director of the MHWM. I am a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist with extensive experience serving those with mental health needs. Along with a group of dedicated volunteers, I work in various ways to provide support, information, education and resources to help improve the quality of the lives of those living with mental illness and support the loved ones who care for them. Responding to requests for prayer is another very important part of our ministry.
The Mental Health & Wellness Ministry is supported by parish funds and grants from the Ferry Foundation, Order of Malta and by the generosity of other donors.
Please feel free to contact me…… I look forward to hearing from you.

Nancy D. Granger, MSN, CNS-BC
Parish Mental Health Nurse

PRAYER PARTNERSDon’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6).

We are a branch of the Mental Health Ministry devoted to praying for those living with mental illness – either in themselves, a loved one, or someone they care for. We help support the Mental Health Ministry by responding to special requests and needs that sometimes can only be answered with prayers. We intercede for them in the name of Jesus, confident that God will grant them the healing and grace they need.  If you would like to request prayers for yourself, a loved one, or someone you care for, please click here.


  • The Brain: Control Central  The brain is the body organ that controls feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Changes in the brain’s activity result in changes in each of these responses. These changes can be either short term or long term. A mental illness is a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning.
  • What’s Wrong?  Mental illnesses, including depression, are illnesses of the brain. Like illnesses that affect other parts of the body, mental illnesses are diagnosed by identifying characteristic symptoms.
    Could It Happen to Me?  Everyone has some risk for becoming mentally ill. Factors such as genetics, environment, and social influences interact to increase or decrease a person’s risk for developing a mental illness.
    Treatment Works!  Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively. Treatments may include the use of medications and psychotherapies.
  • In Their Own Words  Mental illnesses are diseases that affect many aspects of a person’s life but that can be treated effectively so that the individual can function effectively in everyday life. Learning the facts about mental illness can dispel misconceptions.
  • Words can hurt  Many derogatory words and phrases are used in relation to mental illness. However, these words maintain the stereotyped image and not the reality about mental illness. Try not to use these words, and encourage each other not to use them. It is more appropriate to refer to “a person who has a mental illness” when speaking about someone.


  • 1 in 4 adults struggle with a treatable Mental Health condition each year – approximately 60 million people.
  • 10% of us experience a serious Mental Illness in the course of our lives.
  • 14% of us suffer with alcohol dependence.
  • 14% of us suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • 1 in 4 families have someone or a family member with Mental Illness.

People who suffer with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and others tend to be isolated and marginalized by society.  The stigma associated with mental illness still persists despite scientific advancements and new medications that can help those with these brain diseases. Most major mental illnesses are treatable diseases through the right use of professional help, medication, and community support.


  • The Mental Health Ministry will aid in creating environments where persons with mental illness feel welcomed and supported within our Faith Community.
  • The Church and this Ministry can be a formal entry point and linkage to established systems of Mental Health Care.
  • The Mental Health Ministry will do everything possible to meet the basic needs of the Mentally Ill and their families.
  • In touching the lives in this way, we come closest to imitating Jesus’ own example, which should be always before our eyes. (Lk 4:17-19, 21)
  •  The Mental Health & Wellness Ministry will create a community supporting growth and wholeness and circles of care surrounding those in need.
  • We can work to assure that no one is alone on this journey through healing and recovery


  • CREATIVE ARTS WORKSHOP – 2nd and 4th Thursdays, Noon-2:00pm.  Let your creative juices flow as you paint, draw and craft projects. Facilitator, Gilda Kabbani, is a Mental Health Ministry volunteer with artistic experience and training. No experience necessary!
  • GALLAGHER CENTER RESOURCE ROOM  - The Parish Mental Health Nurse and mhwm volunteers welcome you to drop by the Gallagher Center Sundays from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm.  Feel free to browse through literature on mental health, talk with a volunteer, learn about the ministry, obtain resources, develop supportive relationships with others.  All are welcome!
  • MINDFUL ALTERNATIVES SUPPORT GROUP   Monthly support group for family members of adult children with mental illness. Meets on the last Saturday of each month in Gallagher Center at 3:30pm. This group has the very specific focus of helping family members who suffer from a disabling mental illness and who are already active in their own recovery find better resources to further their healing. For more information, please contact Terry at mindfulalternative@gmail.com.
  • “THE COUNSELOR IS IN” Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Emily Fell, LICSW and Dwayne Stone, LMHC, are available to meet for brief  problem solving sessions after Sunday masses.
  • HOSPITALITY GROUPS – Monthly social and support gatherings at Cabrini Senior Housing and Chancery Apartments
  • DINNER AND COFFEE HOUR COMPANION MINISTRY – ‘Ministry of Presence’ is provided to weekday guests of The Cathedral Kitchen and Sunday Coffee Hour Guests
  • MASS COMPANION MINISTRY – ‘Ministry of Presence’ offered during masses
  • SUPPORT VISITS – RN and/ or MHWM volunteers are able to visit with you in office, at home, in hospital or by phone


If you have experience or a particular interest in the field of mental health and are interested in becoming a Mental Health Ministry Volunteer contact Nancy Granger, Parish Mental Health Nurse Some of the volunteer opportunities available are listed below.

  • Community Companions – 4 types
  • Prayer Partners - We are a branch of the Mental Health & Wellness Ministry devoted to praying for those living with mental illness – either in themselves, a loved one, or someone they care for.  Click here for the job description.
  • Home Visits – Visiting clients in the home supporting mental health issues or emotional distress – addressing loneliness and isolation as example.
  • Phone Calls – Calling from ministry office to client home – support and encouragement in dealing with mental health issues and emotional distress.
  • Administrative Assistance – related to special events,  programs, printing, information packets, etc.
  • Events – Assisting with set-up/take-down, welcoming, hospitality.
  • Other Opportunities – Utilize personal skills,  talents and passions  to create unique volunteer positions within  in the ministry
  • Volunteer Handbook  Click here to download our volunteer handbook
  • Mental Health Resources ("Purple Sheet") Click here to download a list of Community Resources
  • For Substance Abuse Information and Support   StartYourRecovery.org


Call 911 for police assistance if the situation is life threatening or if it looks like someone may get hurt. If there is no immediate physical danger, call the Crisis Clinic at 206-461-3222 or 1-866-427-4747.  Navigating a Mental Health Crisis (PDF)

Resources for Faith Communities

  • National Catholic Partnership on Disability Dedicated to ensuring meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church and society. http://www.ncpd.org
  • FaithNet NAMI(National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) has been supporting persons afflicted with mental illness and their families in their search for wholeness. FaithNet helps to educate clergy and congregations about the nature of brain disorders, fosters an understanding of spirituality in the recovery process, and encourages faith communities to participate in care and advocacy. www.namifaithnet
  • Pathways to Promise is an interfaith technical assistance and resource center that offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry to people with mental illness and their families. www.pathwayspromise.org/
  • Mental Health Ministries (mhwm), based in Southern California, has a national reach in its mission of producing high-quality resources to reduce the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities. www.mentalhealthministries.net/

St. Dymphna of Gheel
Patron Saint of those suffering with mental illness

Many people know St. Dymphna of Gheel as the patroness of people struggling with mental illness.  Few seem to know her background or why she is named such.  There are various legends surrounding the story of Dymphna, but the core narrative is this:  She was the daughter of a pagan chieftain in Ireland in the 7th Century.  Her mother, who had been a Christian and had baptized Dymphna, died when her daughter was 14.   Her father was devastated and had a long period of protracted grief.  After a fruitless search for a second wife, his attention fell on Dymphna. Her resemblance to his beloved dead wife, coupled with his emotional and mental struggle after his wife’s death, drove him to entreat her to marry him herself.  Horrified, Dymphna fled with her confessor, an elderly priest by the name of Gerebran, to the city of Gheel in Belgium.  Unfortunately, her father pursued her and found her.  His men murdered Gerebran and then, when Dymphna refused to go with him, he beheaded her.  Dymphna’s refusal to participate in this incestuous relationship led to her martyrdom.  She has been named patroness of people with mental and emotional difficulties – not only because of the toll that her father’s mental illness took on her family but because of her own emotional and mental anguish.  Dymphna was buried in Gheel.  When her body was discovered in the 13th century, cures and miracles were being attributed to her, especially for people with epilepsy and people with mental illness.  But the most outstanding miracle is one that began centuries ago and still continues to this day.  In the 13th century, an institution was built in Gheel where people with mental illness are admitted for a short time.  Following the initial treatment, these patients are then placed with families in the village with whom they live and work side by side.  The patients receive treatment without formality and gain greatly by the normal lifestyle offered to them by the villagers.  The villagers see them as a part of their lives and have for centuries.  In the context of institutionalization, deinstitutionalization, and reinstitutionalization (in prisons) in our country, this truly is miraculous.  All of this is attributed to a simple young princess who lost her life in defense of doing the right thing.  St. Dymphna is a legend and a model and has left a legacy for care and treatment of people with mental illness that defies the “wisdom” and sophistication of our own time.

Prayer for Inclusion

Creator God, we are your people.
We look to the future with optimism and with faith in you,
As we pursue our call to provide justice and fullness of life
For all people with mental illness.
We pray that every man, woman and child
May develop their potential And meet you
In themselves and in one another.
May we enjoy a totally welcoming community,
With you as our center, Joined hand in hand with our sisters and brothers.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Based on the Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities –
NCPD Council (National Catholic Partnership on Disability)


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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303