Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Deedra Shilliday

Second Advisor

Dr. Geraldine Daniels

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Ehler


The purpose of this study is to identify the prevailing mental health perspectives of African American spiritual leaders and to analyze how their views on this subject are communicated to their congregations. Historically, research has demonstrated that African American clergy have admonished congregants for seeking mental health care from mental health professionals instead of seeking God. Twelve African American and Caucasian American spiritual leaders were interviewed. According to the interview results, spiritual leaders' personal beliefs about mental health impact their perspectives on mental health services, which determines their receptiveness and support––or lack thereof––of mental health services. The research concluded that providing education on mental health to spiritual leaders, their staff, and congregants could help destigmatize mental health in the African American community. Mental health training could open a dialogue on mental well-being and reduce the disparity between African Americans and Caucasian Americans in the rate at which mental health services are received.

Included in

Christianity Commons