Mental Health Ministry

Mental Health Ministry Resources

Bay Area Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness

A Conversational Helpline

For many, these are tough times. 

Some of us feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and maybe even hopeless.
Talking over your concerns with a caring person can help you gain some perspective.

Praying with someone can help you place your confidence in God who cares for you and your future even more than you!

Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Leave a message anytime

Deacon Fred Totah: 415-614-5504
Richard Collyer: 415-614-5593

All calls will be treated confidentially. Referrals to counselors or other assistance available.  But we are here primarily to talk with you, pray with you, give you some emotional support and accompaniment as we all navigate these difficult times.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness — NAMI — is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness:  NAMI Affiliates in the three counties of the Archdiocese of San Francisco are listed below:

San Francisco County
Helpline: 415-237-0039

San Mateo County
Helpline: 650-638-0800

Marin County
Helpline: 415-444-0480

Mental Health Resources in the West Bay

24-hour emergency numbers
Call 911 for all emergencies

Sister Hope

The Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry is pleased to offer Sister Hope to the people of the Archdiocese (instructions below)

What is Sister Hope?     Sr Hope is a ‘chatbot’ – it is an AI (artificial intelligence)-driven response to text messages from anyone experiencing anxiety and depression, especially given the additional stress and isolation imposed by Covid.  It will respond to text messages, and offer suggestions and positive feedback, and help you think of ways to improve your situation.  Sister Hope is a new ‘religious’ version of a program that has already been in use – in a secular version – by millions of people.

How do I get access to Sister Hope?  
There are two ways:
1.  Text   1-478-999-1080
2.  Go to Facebook, search for @SisterHopeSF, and select the icon that looks like a nun

What do I do/ next?
Text or message Sister Hope with “Hi”.  Then follow the prompts.  She will ask you some basic information (your name, man or woman, etc) then a few questions to see what is going on with you at the moment.

Is it private? Secure?    
Sister Hope will match any information you give her with your unique phone number or Facebook user id.  Your communication with Sister Hope is completely private and HIPAA compliant.

How do I end a session with Sister Hope when I’m done?    
Just text or enter “Bye” to her.

How do I start a new session?   
Text or enter “hi” to start again.

How do I remove myself from Sister Hope?   
Simply text “unsubscribe” or “opt out.”  (You can access it again later by following the steps above.)

What if I have more questions?    
Email Dick Collyer at 
[email protected]  or Ed Hopfner at [email protected]

NOTE – Sister Hope is for use by adults (18 years or older) only.

Additional Resources

Spiritual Resources to Meet the Pandemic Challenge

Msgr. John Talesfore reports on the Mental Health Ministry pilot programs at St. Matthew’s in San Mateo and Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and these programs, he says, provide meaningful outreach. “It can be so simple amid stress and fear”:


The coronavirus and the global spread of COVID-19 disease have had an unprecedented effect on all our lives, and the stress and anxiety can take a toll on health both physical and mental:


“When mental illness crept into my life, I slowly stopped turning to the saints for help….”  There are patron saints for many needs. Whom can we call on for spiritual support with this?


Parishes with a Mental Health Ministry

All Souls, South San Francisco
Church of the Epiphany, San Francisco
Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco
Our Lady of Angels, Burlingame
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redwood City
St. Anselm, San Anselmo
St. Bruno, San Bruno
St. Hilary, Tiburon
St. Matthew, San Mateo
St. Raphael, San Rafael
St. Raymond, Menlo Park
St. Veronia, South San Francisco


Mental Health Ministry Brochure
Volante sobre Ministerio de Salud Mental

What can parishioners do? And how to do it?

Catholics Must Do More to Accompany People with Mental Illness – A U.S. Catholic magazine interview (March 2019)

12 Ways Parishes Can Support People with Mental Illness” – A U.S. Catholic magazine editorial (March 2019

“Hope and Healing”: California Bishops’ Pastoral Letter


“As pastors and bishops, we understand that mental health is a critical component of wellbeing. Therefore, ministering to those who suffer from mental illness is an essential part of the pastoral care of the Church….”

Read here the California Catholic Bishops’ groundbreaking pastoral letter, released on May 2, 2018:

Hope and Healing  (English PDF)
Hope and Healing (Spanish PDF)
Hope and Healing  (Vietnamese PDF)

Note to those using :
As a consequence of California AB 5, eTherapyFinder has had to cease operations.
We sincerely regret this, and hope the legislature will some day reverse or amend the law
so we can continue in operation. 

An Interview with Aaron Kheriaty, M.D.

“I believe this document is a unique contribution toward overcoming unjust stigma around mental health. It’s the first document from American bishops, that I am aware of, that addresses this issue directly.” Dr. Aaron Kheriarty, associate professor of Psychiatry at UC Irvine School of Medicine, is director of the Medical Ethics Program at UC Irvine Health, and author of The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again. Read his response to the California Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter in this exclusive interview with Valerie Schmalz, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity.

Read Full Interview

Suicide Prevention

Are you in crisis?     
Do you know someone who is?

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the NSPL’s website.

Suicide: What are the signs and symptoms?

[from the National Institute for Mental Health]

The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide:

• Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
• Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
• Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
• Talking about great guilt or shame
• Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
• Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Using alcohol or drugs more often
• Acting anxious or agitated
• Withdrawing from family and friends
• Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
• Talking or thinking about death often
• Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
• Giving away important possessions
• Saying goodbye to friends and family
• Putting affairs in order, making a will.

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Suicide: What are the risk factors?

[from the National Institute for Mental Health]

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. Suicidal behavior is complex and there is no single cause. In fact, many different factors contribute to someone making a suicide attempt. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:

• Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
• Certain medical conditions
• Chronic pain
• A prior suicide attempt
• Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
• Family history of suicide
• Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
• Having guns or other firearms in the home
• Having recently been released from prison or jail
• Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities.

Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention, and should not be ignored.

Christ calls us to attend to those who suffer from mental illness and provide hope and healing. Therefore, ministering to those who suffer from mental illness is an essential part of the pastoral care of the Church.
The California Catholic Conference: Bishops’ Pastoral Letter Hope and Healing