Date of Conferral
Counselor Education and Supervision
Dr. Judy Green
The mental health literacy (MHL) rates of Christian clergy in the United States remains underinvestigated in the current literature. This gap of knowledge is problematic for the large numbers of individuals with mental illness who seek assistance from clergy and may receive inadequate care for their concerns. As theoretically designated by the behavioral models of health care and MHL research, denomination-type, educational variables, and demographic characteristics were investigated as potential predictors of MHL. A sample of 238 Christian clergy from throughout the United States completed the web-based Mental Health Literacy Scale and demographic questionnaire. Results of analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed no significant differences among MHL scores of Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Historically Black Protestant groups. Results of the multiple linear regressions showed that number of years of postsecondary school, degree-type, age, and geographical location were not significant predictors of MHL scores. Higher numbers of clinical MH training courses and female gender did significantly predict higher levels of MHL scores. The findings provided the first parametric measure of a diverse, national sample of Christian clergy and indicated a need for increasing MHL trainings. Results also provided counselors and counselor educators with information useful for initiating and modeling interprofessional trainings, collaborations, and referral partnerships with clergy who currently serve as front-line mental health workers to millions of U.S. residents. The results may also inform social justice initiatives to reduce mental health care disparities in underserved populations.