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Over 43 million Americans suffer from mental illness annually with 40% seeking support from clergy (Polson & Rogers, 2007) who claim to be ineffectively prepared (Farrell & Goebert, 2008). This study investigated if mental health training administered to clergy would increase their knowledge of various mental disorders, alter their opinion regarding helpful resources, grow their self-confidence to help individuals experiencing mental health issues, and increase clergy's willingness to refer out. The theoretical basis for this research was attribution theory that attempts to explain social perceptions (Mannarini & Boffo, 2013) and the struggle individuals (i.e. clergy) have regarding the causation of mental health concerns (Locke & Pennington, 1982) and identification of mental illness symptoms (Miller, Smith & Uleman, 1981). In the within-group study, clergy completed the Mental Health Effectiveness Questionnaire pre and post training to answer the following questions: Does participation in a training workshop affect clergy's knowledge of mental disorders, opinion regarding helpful resources, self-confidence to assist an individual with mental health issues, and willingness to refer to a helpful resource? The majority of participants had experience with mental illness. Unexpected results showed mental health training positively influenced some opinions regarding helpful resources and confidence to assist someone with mental illness. The results of this research may influence positive social change by showing that faith based mental health training may do more than increase confidence to someone to assist and refer an individual experiencing mental health issues. It may also be a means of social support to family members already possessing knowledge of mental illness or indicate that family members are in search of more faith based mental health training.
Davis Merritt, Suzan Mae, "Increasing Clergy's Knowledge of Mental Illness, Confidence, and Willingness to Refer" (2019). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 7223.