Mental health literacy education for religious leaders in ethnic minority communities  (2014)

Researcher(s):

Project Sponsor(s)

  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • The University of Texas at Austin

Project Categories

Leaders of religious organizations in ethnic minority communities provide a wide array of services to their community members, and they often serve as the first point of contact for the emotionally distressed. Given their critical role as community mental health allies, attention should be paid to ways to help religious leaders properly respond to mental health care needs in their congregations and communities.

The purpose of the current proposal is to conduct a preparatory work for the development of an educational intervention on depression for religious leaders in Korean American communities which can promote their knowledge of depression, reduce stigma, and enhance proper referral behaviors and risk management.

The overall approach follows the Gateway Provider Model (GPM) that conceptualizes gateway providers’ skills and knowledge as a critical element in pathways to mental health services and as an agent for intervention efforts. Specific aim of this preliminary work is to review literature and educational programs on mental health literacy. Systematic searches of the existing public educational programs on mental health (e.g., educational programs available from NIMH, NAMI, and Mental Health America) will be conducted, and the features and contents of each program will be reviewed.

Based on the reviews of the existing programs, the contents will be selected to address basic etiology, risk factors and causes, benefits of early detection and treatment, treatment options, case examples, referral procedures, suicide risk assessment, emergency management, confidentiality issues, and local mental health service information. Outcomes from this preliminary work will serve as a basis for an R34 application to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Results will serve as a model for developing similar programs for other ethnic minority groups, contributing to closing a gap in mental health services in diverse populations.