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Mental Health Ministry Initiative

Mental Health Ministry Initiative


Mental Health Ministry Initiative (MHMI) – a collaboration of Samaritan and NAMI Fox Valley – improves regional mental health by equipping faith leaders to minister to mental health needs in their faith communities.

Mental Health Ministry Initiative (MHMI) prepares professional and volunteer faith leaders through a three-level tier training program for encounters in their faith communities with those suffering from mental health issues. It equips them as mental health “first responders” and empowers them to normalize mental health, shifting the culture of secrecy, stigma and self-blame that can lead to silent suffering and even suicide.


Level 1 – EDUCATION: Creating Hope

  • This is a half-day Creating Hope educational event in May that focuses on equipping faith communities for suicide prevention and recovery.

Level 2 – INTEGRATION: Faith Leader Mental Health Initiative Program

  • This is a six-session series of mental health topics that arise often in ministry. We meet September-November and January-March.

Level 3 – COLLABORATION: Cluster Group Program

  • Involves 8-12 faith leaders from 4-6 faith communities that meet in a cluster group that convenes every 6 weeks for mental health education and case studies shared by faith leaders.
  • Facilitated by one mental health professional and one peer support expert.
  • Coaches group participants in forming mental health ministry teams in their own faith communities.


Samaritan Counseling, through therapist Doug Bisbee, also provides these services under the Mental Health Ministry Initiative umbrella:

Clergy groups: Facilitated groups that support clergy members and train them to be more effective leaders. This is a self-pay service.

Clergy coaching: Meet individually with clergy and other faith leaders regarding vocational issues and goal setting. This is a self-pay service.

Pre-marital/Marital counseling: Series of four sessions helps couples prepare for marriage and improve marital satisfaction. Participants use the Prepare and Enrich Inventory to explore the dynamics of their relationship through the lens of family background and personality traits. Premarital counseling is facilitated by one of our state licensed counselors. These are self-pay services.


Doug Bisbee, M.Div., MAC, LPC

Doug served for over 20 years (ordained 1988) in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as an associate pastor, solo pastor, mission developer, associate with the bishop, pastoral candidacy director, mission director, senior pastor, pastoral internship supervisor, and consultant in the areas of visioning, leadership & staff development, mission development & re-development, conflict resolution, and stewardship.  He is a certified Healthy Congregations Facilitator as well as a graduate of the Grace Institute of Spiritual Formation. He is a tonsured reader in the Orthodox Church in America, attending St. Matthew Orthodox Church in Green Bay with his wife. Presently, Doug is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) at Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley (since 2011).

(920) 886-9319 ext. 107  or [email protected]


The Mental Health Ministry Initiative is a collaboration between Samaritan Counseling Center and NAMI Fox Valley.


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