Our Team

Daniel Whitehead, MA - Executive Director

Daniel Whitehead is a Regent College Graduate and ordained minister with over 10 years of full time vocational Church ministry experience in the UK. He has traveled extensively overseas working on various humanitarian projects and is a certified mediator with London School of Mediation.

Dan says:

Having spent 10 years in full time vocational church ministry, I know the levels of brokenness that a community carries, often in secret, and I have witnessed at first hand the good, the bad and the ugly approaches to mental health. Thus I have personally felt the great need for this ministry, and I can personally attest to the challenges of leading at times when my own mental health was poor. It is undoubtedly these first-hand experiences, including walking with many friends and family members through debilitating mental health struggles, that have caused me to see the value and power of Sanctuary’s work.

Jina Lee - Administrator

Jina found meaning in her work with Sanctuary after a life-changing career break wherein she saw God’s grace and provision working in a powerful way. She has volunteered serving women refugees from North Korea, and as support staff at a Christian school in Kenya. Jina is also a freelance photographer and music instructor.

Jina says:

While my friends of faith struggled with mental health issues, I struggled to find the right words to comfort them. I realized the need for greater awareness and understanding of how to journey alongside them in a caring way, and Sanctuary provides that in our churches, helping them become compassionate communities for mental health.

Kate Dewhurst - Program Manager

Kate has an academic background in International Development Studies and English Literature, and has worked as a teacher, pastor, manager and writer. She finds the common threads of social justice and community development woven through the many roles she has filled and is inspired by the ways church communities can become even more loving places of belonging and hope.  

Kate says:

I'm a pastor’s kid who has worked in pastoral ministry, and through the years, I've participated in many different Christian communities -- from Catholic to Anglican to Pentecostal to Mennonite/Mennonite Brethren and non-denominational churches and parishes. Within these environments, I've experienced the powerful ways God works in community to bring support, care, healing, wholeness and transformation. Also at times, through a lack of mental health awareness and understanding, I've witnessed further marginalization of persons living with mental health issues. A couple of years ago, I attended a Sanctuary seminar and was impacted by the stories of people with lived-experience and their insights into how churches and parishes could better support their recovery journeys. I wanted to be part of an organization that elevates these voices and their life-wisdom. 

Sue Nickel - Program Assistant

Sue is a retired pediatric nurse and clinical counsellor, and the author of 'Be Held', a daily reader for those living with clinical depression. She presently works as a Mental Health Advocate and Programming Assistant at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.

Sue says:

I grew up in a medical home and was a registered nurse myself but, even so, the stigma of mental illness prevented me from being honest with myself and those I loved. As a result, it was decades before I received appropriate treatment and got on the road to recovery. Part of the mandate of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries is about opening wide the conversation and education about mental illness and the welcome therein of those suffering from it. The subsequent hope and goal is a significant decrease in stigma. It is a privilege for me to be participating in this invaluable social and faith-based revolution. 

Jane Harris - Intern, Program Development 

Jane has been involved in ministry for over a decade, volunteering as a youth leader and Sunday school teacher at various churches, and spending six years on staff at the International House of Prayer. She has designed curriculum for several mission organizations, and is currently pursuing graduate theological studies with an emphasis on mental health and spirituality at Regent College.

Jane says:

The years I spent in pastoral ministry convinced me of the desperate need for mental health education within the church. Too often I saw hurting individuals offered counseling perspectives that neglected spirituality and theological perspectives that dismissed psychology. My search for integrative resources and ministry approaches ultimately led me to Sanctuary. Through the work of this organization I have received personal restoration and discovered an alternative ministry model that offers hope to people of faith experiencing mental health challenges.
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