Let the Church Say… One Congregation’s Views on How Churches Can Improve Mental Health Beliefs, Practices and Behaviors among Black Americans
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The Black Church; mental health; community-based service delivery; stigma
African Americans have historically turned to the Black Church in times of trouble and/or need, including when experiencing mental health problems as they often seen as having spiritual causes. The purpose of this study was to better understand what church members believe to be the Black church’s role in addressing mental health issues. Surveys were administered online to members of a Midwestern church and included questions about respondents’ mental health and service use histories and thoughts about church-based mental health services. A thematic analysis was performed on qualitative responses from 393 participants explaining why they supported a church-based counseling center. Findings suggest Black churches are positioned to address the unmet mental health needs of Black Americans, reduce mental health stigma in Black and/or Christian communities, and deliver culturally-appropriate, community-based mental health services to these groups.
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