Event Title

Mental Health Literacy in the Black Church: How Black Church Leaders Help Congregants Address Depression and Anxiety

Date

April 2020

Description

African Americans historically steer away from mental health professionals and facilities due to historical and present accounts of institutionalized racism, misdiagnoses, and lack of representation in mental health facilities (Dempsey, Butler, & Gaither, 2016). Many African Americans thus turn to the black church for help meeting their psychological needs. Black clergy members tend to use the teachings of the Bible to assist with problems, an application called biblical counseling. The current study assessed the mental health literacy of black church leaders, along with their approaches to help congregants deal with anxiety and depression. Black church leaders completed an online survey asking questions on their mental health literacy and pastoral counseling techniques. A better understanding of mental health literacy levels and counseling approaches of black church leaders can lead to improved partnerships between mental health professionals and black clergy, ultimately strengthening the mental health of the African American community.

Comments

This oral presentation is based on an individual research project.

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Mental Health Literacy in the Black Church: How Black Church Leaders Help Congregants Address Depression and Anxiety

African Americans historically steer away from mental health professionals and facilities due to historical and present accounts of institutionalized racism, misdiagnoses, and lack of representation in mental health facilities (Dempsey, Butler, & Gaither, 2016). Many African Americans thus turn to the black church for help meeting their psychological needs. Black clergy members tend to use the teachings of the Bible to assist with problems, an application called biblical counseling. The current study assessed the mental health literacy of black church leaders, along with their approaches to help congregants deal with anxiety and depression. Black church leaders completed an online survey asking questions on their mental health literacy and pastoral counseling techniques. A better understanding of mental health literacy levels and counseling approaches of black church leaders can lead to improved partnerships between mental health professionals and black clergy, ultimately strengthening the mental health of the African American community.