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A recent poll shows that some Pastors of Black and Latino congregations feel ill-equipped, not adequately prepared and not properly trained to address mental health care.  “Where Would You Go? Race, Religion, and the Limits of Pastor Mental Health Care in Black and Latino Congregations is a study published in the Journal, Religions. Parishioners said that they would seek the services of a mental health professional if their Pastor made the referral.  Churchgoers also said that the need for mental health services is “perceived to be highly stigmatized” in their church and in their community.  Researcher Dan Bolger, of Rice University, says that “Pastors feel overwhelmed by the high levels of need, which exceeds their abilities.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says Black people are 20 percent more likely than the general population to live with mental health conditions like major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, only 20 percent of Latino individuals with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their concerns, and only 10 percent contact a mental health specialist.

The study concluded that mental health care professionals need to properly train pastors to address the issue of mental illness in the Black and Latino communities.  Pastors and churchgoers from Houston participated in the study.