Ave Explores Series

Do you feel stressed out, anxious, or depressed? Are you afraid to talk with a professional because you’re worried that someone will find out and think less of you? What steps can you take to regain a sense of balance and peace?
Ave Explores: Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health has some answers to your questions and concerns.

Katie Prejean McGrady and a team of experts including Leah Darrow, Roy Petitfils, Fr. Joshua Whitfield, Allison Ricciardi, LMHC, Deacon Ed Shoener, Tommy Tighe, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, S.O.L.T., and Scott Weeman help you explore a variety of mental health issues such as addiction and recovery, forgiveness, grief, practicing mindfulness, therapy, and spiritual direction. You learn why it’s important to take care of your mental health and what you can do to get back on track. Plus, we offer a variety of practical resources where you can find out more.


Week 1: Let's Talk About Mental Health

This week Katie Prejean McGrady explains why we’re talking about mental health issues, Rev. Joshua Whitfield explores the differences between spiritual direction and therapy, and Robert J. Wicks, a clinical psychologist, writes about the benefits of taking time alone. In this week’s video, Roy Petitfils, a licensed professional counselor, addresses how talking about stress, anxiety, and mental health can help us become healthier. On the Ave Explores podcast, Gary Zimak, a Catholic speaker, author, and “worry expert,” provides insight on balancing your life during stressful times and how to incorporate prayer into your routine.

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Week 2: Understanding Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Health

If we can talk about our mental health issues, the next step is to seek help. In Week 2 of Ave Explores: Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health, Deacon Ed Shoener explores the Catholic understanding of suicide through the story of the loss of his daughter; licensed mental health counselor Allison Ricciardi writes about how you can conquer anxiety in a healthy and holy way; and Roy Petitfils joins Katie Prejean McGrady on the Ave Explores podcast to talk about crises teenagers face today. Our video this week is from Fr. Rob Galea, a popular international Catholic musician, speaker, and author, who shares his story about thriving in the midst of his own depression.

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Week 3: Finding Hope in Loss and Addiction

We all know what it means to lose someone—whether to death, to drifting apart, to struggling with a rift within the family, or to the loss of the life we wanted. Loss touches us all, in one way or another. This week, we explore grief and loss, asking how we can walk through dark valleys and seek hope in the midst of hardship and loss. 

In the video this week, Scott Weeman, speaker, author, and founder and executive director of Catholic in Recovery, explores how the 12 Step program of recovery aligns beautifully with the sacraments and helps us understand how Catholics can uniquely help those struggling with addiction.

Check social media for a bonus feature: Carmen Santamaría reflects on her struggle with infertility and ways we can welcome God to ease the pain.

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Week 4: Healing

Now that we’ve examined issues such as anxiety, addiction, suicide, and grief, in this final week of Ave Explores: Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health, you’ll learn about healing and forgiveness.

In this final video, Katie Prejean McGrady encourages all who are struggling with mental health issues to seek—without shame—professional help. Sharing her own experience with anxiety, she reminds us that Jesus cares about our mental health and is with us in the midst of the struggle, not as a substitute for professional help, but as a grace we are given from the Lord who loves us unconditionally.

Bob Schuchts, founder of the John Paul II Healing Center, retired counselor, and bestselling author of Be Healed, shares how healing wounded hearts helps us grow in wholeness and holiness.  Greg Popcak, founder and executive director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute and author and coauthor of a number of books on family and relationships, writes about the four essential habits that help married couples to remain close when life is difficult.

On this week’s Ave Explores podcast, Prejean McGrady talks about healing and forgiveness with Sr. Miriam James Heidland, S.O.L.T., and Fr. John Burns, popular Catholic speakers and authors.

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Click here to view a list of resources that offer support and additional information on stress, anxiety, and mental health. This is not an exhaustive list. Please ask your doctor or search online for additional resources related to your concern.


The contents of Ave Explores, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding your condition. 

If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you're having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.


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