Black Pastors’ Mental Health Experiences and the Influence on their Responses to Mental Health Needs in Their Congregation

“It is imperative that researchers examine Black pastors’ attitudes about mental health and personal coping practices as the consequences are far-reaching for the church in North America and society at-large. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Janeé Rolonda Avent Harris East Carolina University Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

I will be investigating the personal mental health experiences of Black pastors who lead predominately Black congregations in rural communities. I will be exploring how pastors’ own personal mental health experiences impact their response to the mental health needs of their congregations. Pastors are often expected, both explicitly and implicitly, to assume a myriad of responsibilities in the lives of their church parishioners and within the larger communities they serve.The more we know about pastors’ personal experiences with mental health, the more we will be able to understand the ways in which they respond to mental health in their congregations. This awareness and knowledge will enable ministry leaders, academicians, and mental health professionals to respond effectively. The research study will be be a qualitative, phenomenological investigation. We will aim to enroll fifteen participants who identify as Black pastors of predominately Black congregations in rural communities. Participants will complete a semi-structured interview. Moustakas’ (1994) phenomenological data analysis will guide the analysis process. Results from this study will be shared in academic, church, and community settings. The results will be included in professional academic and medians available and more readily accessible by the general public. The results will be included in presentations at academic conferences as well as churches.