Most individuals with mental health needs do not receive professional care. One strategy to narrow this service provision gap is task-shifting, a process where certain responsibilities are shifted to less specialized workers. Approximately 25% of those who seek mental health care turn to clergy. This study investigated the suitability of using clergy to scale-up mental health service provision by assessing perceptions of satisfaction and helpfulness with clergy-delivered services. Using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (2003), we found most respondents (n=204) who went to clergy reported satisfaction with their care (92%) and that the services were helpful (94%). Ordered logit regression revealed that racial/ethnic minorities and individuals for whom religion was more salient were disproportionately likely to find clergy-delivered mental health services satisfying and helpful, while older adults were more likely to report the services were helpful. The results suggest incorporating clergy in mental health scale-up plans via task-shifting may be a viable option, particularly for addressing the mental health needs of underserved racial and ethnic minorities, as well as older adults. Social workers— at least in theory—are well-positioned to collaborate with clergy in the process of implementing task-shifting.
- Health disparities
- Mental health services
- Task-shifting, clergy
- Underserved populations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)