Clinical Clergy

More people with mental and emotional troubles seek help from clergy than from psychiatrists or medical doctors, according to an article by Dr. Glen Milstein in Psychiatric Times. Milstein surveyed more than 8,000 people with mental illness and is using his work to encourage more collaboration between clergy and medical professionals. Ministers often stand at the gate between the faith community and the medical profession, and Milstein says, "They need to understand their expertise and know when they need to refer people to medical professionals."
  • 25% of people surveyed with mental disorders sought help from clergy first
  • 17% of those surveyed sought help from psychiatrists or medical doctors first
  • 10% of people who go to clergy with psychological problems are then referred to mental health care professionals
  • The 2% of parishioners with mental illness that seek clergy help use 80 percent of the clergy's counseling hours
  • The cost and stigma associated with mental health care motivated participants to seek help from clergy
Source: Science and Theology News, January 2004; Psychiatric Times. Findings highlighted in an infographic about Glen Milstein's work do not imply that Milstein was involved in research based on the National Comorbidity Survey. That research was conducted by Philip Wang, Patricia Berglund and Ronald Kessler.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2004
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