Leavey et al., “Pastoral Care of Mental Illness”

Leavey, Gerard, Kate Loewenthal, and Michael King.  2017. Pastoral care of mental illness and the accommodation of African Christian beliefs and practices by UK clergy.  Transcultural Psychiatry.  Early online publication. 

Abstract: Faith-based organisations, especially those related to specific ethnic or migrant groups, are increasingly viewed by secular Western government agencies as potential collaborators in community health and welfare programmes. Although clergy are often called upon to provide mental health pastoral care, their response to such problems remains relatively unexamined. This paper examines how clergy working in multiethnic settings do not always have the answers that people want, or perhaps need, to problems of misfortune and suffering. In the UK these barriers can be attributed, generally, to a lack of training on mental health problems and minimal collaboration with health services. The current paper attempts to highlight the dilemmas of the established churches’ involvement in mental health care in the context of diversity. We explore the inability of established churches to accommodate African and other spiritual beliefs and practices related to the etiology and treatment of mental health problems.