Clergy education focuses on mental health, suicide prevention

05/05/2021  |  

Priests and deacons of the diocese were invited April 23 to participate in a continuing education course on mental health and suicide awareness.

Scott Roeder, a parishioner of St. Paul Church in St. Cloud, first raised the idea with Bishop Donald Kettler after reading the books “When a Loved One Dies by Suicide: Comfort, Hope and Healing for Grieving Catholics” and “Responding to Suicide: A Pastoral Handbook for Catholic Leaders.” Bishop John Dolan, auxiliary bishop of San Diego, and Deacon Ed Shoener, a permanent deacon from Scranton, Pennsylvania, are the authors of the books.

Roeder lost his son, Jackson, to suicide in 2017, after he struggled with mental health issues for years.

“I found the books to be very good in discussing the impact of suicide and how it is handled by the Church,” Roeder said. “I read both books and wondered what knowledge the local clergy had on this topic. I decided to call the bishop’s office and find out.”