Internationally Acclaimed Speaker Rick Amato Named Ambassador to the Church for Mental Health and Addiction

Internationally Acclaimed Speaker Rick Amato Named Ambassador to the Church for Mental Health and Addiction

Categories: MEMBER NEWS

Internationally Acclaimed Speaker Rick Amato Named Ambassador to the Church for Mental Health and Addiction

FOREST, VA – The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is pleased to announce the addition of internationally acclaimed speaker, Rick Amato, as the Ambassador to the Church for Mental Health and Addiction.

Amato founded Rick Amato Ministries, leading him to travel millions of miles to more than 60 countries to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After multiple, severe injuries and ill health, Amato became opiate dependent. The medicine that had initially been prescribed to aid in his healing turned into his greatest enemy. Finally, he admitted defeat and went through rehabilitation.

Afterward, having an undergraduate degree in Psychology and an honorary doctorate in Divinity, Amato took a leave of absence from his ministry to begin a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling with an emphasis on Addiction and Recovery. He wanted to know how he could be a Christian but also become enslaved to fentanyl.

In November of 2018, Amato began to speak up about addiction. He addressed more than 9,000 students at Liberty University as part of an opioid town hall that featured Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States; U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar; former Fox News host, Eric Bolling; and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.

Amato has also recently joined the expert panel for two Opioid Addiction Crisis Specialized Training Symposiums, one most recently at the American Association Christian Counselors’ 2019 “Rise Up” World Conference in Nashville, TN.

Dr. Tim Clinton, President of AACC, said, “We are honored to have Rick join our team as we look to help break the stigma around mental health and addiction. Our prayer is that through this new initiative, the Church will become more aware of the issues and needs to take her rightful place in culture and help fight this war on addiction.”

Amato will also join the leadership team of the Addiction and Recovery Network Division of the AACC, designed to equip mental health practitioners, pastors, ministry leaders, and lay caregivers to better understand addiction and help those struggling with this issue.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, said, “Rick has been a friend to my family for over 30 years. I have seen him rise from the streets of Detroit to build a global outreach and have witnessed his hard, personal fight against prescription drug addiction. There are few voices more qualified than Rick to address the struggles of mental health and addiction. With churches facing this challenge more than ever before, it’s the perfect time for Rick to share his story of redemption with everyone in need of encouragement. His message of hope can help see them through their own dark times.”

Rick and his wife, Susan, a licensed mental health therapist, currently reside in Wellington, Florida, where they founded the Dream Believe Institute. For more information on Rick Amato, please visit, or to request Rick to speak at your church, ministry, or live event, contact

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About the AACC

The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is the world’s largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. The AACC’s mission is to equip the entire community of care, including licensed professionals, pastors, and lay caregivers, with biblical truth and psychosocial insights so they can minister to hurting persons and help them move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence, and mental stability. The AACC accomplishes this mission through its widely attended events, educational programs, and materials available via Light University and publications.