Studies have found that clergy and not psychologists or other mental health experts, are the most common source of help sought in times of psychological distress.
More than 1/3 of patients in a recent Baylor study were told by their pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness. The problem was solely "spiritual in nature," they were told. The results, based on surverys of 293 individuals, were published in the journal Mental Health, Religion and Culture.
"Forty percent of people who experience mental illness first contact their clergy. The statistics show that one in every eight families is affected by mental illness. That means in a parish of 800 families, 100 have a need." Claretian Publications
As an ordained minister and a clinical psychologist, I often receive messages from pastors, and church leaders asking for guidance in dealing with issues related to mental illnes, especially when a member is talking about committing suicide. I would be interested in knowing what specific challenges as ministers you face in helping someone with a mental illness and what advice do you offer?
May God bless you for all that you do for the Kingdom of God.
Rev. Dr. Tracy Scott