Predicting the Mental Health Literacy of Clergy: An Informational Resource for Counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling

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Journal of Mental Health Counseling

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Though clergy often serve as informal helpers and conduits to the formal mental health care system, few researchers have examined whether such clergy maintain the knowledge necessary to complete this mission. In this study, denominational affiliation, educational variables, and demographic characteristics were examined as potential predictors of mental health literacy (MHL). As a measure of MHL, the Mental Health Literacy Scale was completed by a nationwide sample of 238 Christian clergy. The results provided the first parametric measure of denominationally diverse clergy from across the United States. Results indicated that female gender and higher numbers of clinical mental health training courses significantly predicted higher MHL scores. No significant differences in MHL scores emerged among four main denominational groups: Catholic, evangelical Protestant, historically Black Protestant, and mainline Protestant. Findings may inform mental health counselors on how to increase interprofessional dialog and referral partnerships with local clergy.