Ministers' perceptions of depression: Church-based care to reduce racial disparities in mental health care
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
African Americans, compared to white Americans, under-utilize mental health services. Church-based programs are effective in reducing racial disparities in health; however, the literature on church-based programs for depression is limited. The purpose of this study was to explore ministers' perceptions about depression and the feasibility of utilizing the church to implement evidence-based assessments and psychotherapy for depression. From August 2011 to March 2012, data were collected from three focus groups conducted with adult ministers (n=21) from a black mega-church in New York City. Using consensual qualitative research to analyze data, eight main domains emerged: definition of depression, identification of depression, causal factors, perceived responsibilities, limitations, assessment, group Interpersonal Psychotherapy, and stigma. A major finding was that ministers described depression within a context of vast suffering due to socioeconomic inequalities (e.g., financial strain and unstable housing) in many African American communities. Implementing evidence-based assessments and psychotherapy in a church was deemed feasible if principles of community-based participatory research were utilized and safeguards to protect participants' confidentiality were employed. In conclusion, ministers were enthusiastic about the possibility of implementing church-based programs for depression care and emphasized partnering with academic researchers throughout the implementation process. More research is needed to identify effective, multidisciplinary interventions that address social inequalities which contribute to racial disparities in depression treatment. We believe that church-based programs can play a significant role in this effort.
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Describe ministers' perceptions of depression and the feasibility of using the church to implement evidence-based treatment for depression
Keyword(s): Access and Services, Mental Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am principal investigator of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award that provided funding to implement an evidence-based depression treatment in a large, African American church. I have also chaired a symposium, focused on the role of faith-based organizations in reducing racial disparities in mental health treatment, at an international psychiatric conference.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.