Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Rodney Phillips


Mental Health Ministry, African American Church, Needs Assessment, Mental Health Literacy Scale, Mixed Methods


Christianity | Counseling | Religion


This mixed methods research project explored the attitudes and expectations of African American congregants regarding a proposed mental health ministry in a large urban church in Miami Gardens, Florida. The scale component assessed the mental health literacy levels of congregants. The semi-structured interview revealed congregant needs and ways to address them, as identified by leaders of other ministries based on their interactions with congregants. Relevant themes were stigma surrounding mental health, the desire for spirituality in counseling, and Christ’s concern for humanity’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. This project collected digital scale surveys from 51 individuals and conducted nine semi-structured interviews with leaders of the church. The major scale findings were a need for education regarding risk factors, self-treatment, and the types of professional help available. Congregants may also benefit from efforts designed to promote recognition and appropriate help-seeking behaviors. The interview findings were: Congregants could benefit from counseling provided by both licensed professional counselors and trained pastoral counselors, and the stigma associated with mental health needs to be addressed, so congregants are comfortable seeking help.