Extensions of grace : an examination of clergy as gatekeepers in youth mental health.

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Approximately half of all mental health concerns will begin by 14 years of age and 75% will develop by 24 years of age. Congregations are often a primary point of contact for individuals seeking support related to a mental health concern. Current research indicates, however, that clergy may frequently lack the mental health education and relationships with mental health professionals to provide adequate support. Some of the factors that are thought to create these divisions in service delivery include historical tensions regarding differences in interpretation of mental health, lack of awareness of available community resources, ambivalence surrounding the perceived risks and benefits of collaboration, and mistrust of the values and practices of mental health professionals. Nevertheless, the opportunity to further integrate clergy and their congregations within systems of care remains evident. The present dissertation seeks to further explore the role of congregations as it relates as to youth mental health.

Youth. Mental health. Congregations. Clergy. Mental health literacy. Pastoral care.