Effects of the Training and Education of M.Div. Students on the Identification and Treatment of Individuals with Serious Mental Illness
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Ross, Halle Elizabeth
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This paper assessed accredited M.Div. seminary programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico on the presence and strength of counseling course requirements and courses discussing mental illness. The researcher hypothesizes seminaries in more conservative locations and those with more conservative theological bases will provide fewer if any classes instructing their students about how to recognize individuals with serious mental illness, intervene appropriately, and refer these individuals to the proper professionals. 219 of 239 accredited M.Div. programs were contacted through telephone interviews; 70 responded. Though almost every seminary offered counseling courses, almost 90% of seminaries required two or fewer counseling classes. Even fewer seminaries offer or require classes dedicated to mental illness. Only 26.9% of the respondent seminaries are currently attempting to increase the quality and number of counseling courses and courses focusing on mental illness. These findings emphasize the need to increase mental health awareness and education in seminaries and increase positive referral patterns between clergy and psychologists.