Patron Saints for People Suffering from Depression: 19 Million in the U.S. Alone

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The saintly proponent of mental health

Depression, which can be paralyzing, is the most common emotional problem, certainly in the United States: by some estimates 19 million. But of course, it has an international, human dimension that transcends borders.

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was born near Lyons (Dardilly) on May 8, 1786. As a youngster, he worked the land while teaching other children about their shared faith. Entering the seminary, he struggled with his studies, and was eventually assigned to a small parish in Ars. Here, Vianney worked as a parish priest. For 40 years, he was known for his preaching. Vianney died on August 4, 1859, which is his Feast Day.

Saint Jean Vianney is known as the patron saint of priests. But, in part overwhelmed by his responsibilities, he suffered from depression, and is perhaps better known as the patron saint for people suffering from depression.

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Saint Dymphna (ca. 7th century) is likewise the patron saint for individuals with emotional problems, the seriously mentally ill, those who suffer neurological disorders—and, consequently, of psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. She is also the patron saint of victims of incest.

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