Ministers’ Perceptions of Faith-Based Communities in Mental Health Services

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Jacqueline Burse
Tracey Marie Barnett
Lester R. Collins
Alexa Smith Osborne
Natasha Stewart


faith-based, mental health, African American, church, ministers


The purpose of this study was to explore faith-based leaders’ perceptions regarding provision of mental health services among their congregants and within the African American community. Previous research suggests that formal mental health services are less utilized by African Americans, however church leaders have historically provided congregants with faith-based mental health services (Allen, Davey & Davey, 2010). A secondary analysis of de-identified data on a sample of 246 African American ministry leaders was conducted. Findings suggested that most congregant leaders were able to recognize when individuals inconspicuously desired more of an evidence-based approach to mental health care, rather than the current offering of biblical expertise. A lower percentage of faith-based leaders had knowledge of mental health disorders and wanted to collaborate with others to increase health and wellness. The findings also suggest that faith-based pastors and leaders have a desire to address issues related to mental health in collaboration with mental health professionals, such as social workers and other community partners.

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