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Faith and Mental Health

Psychiatry and spirituality often work hand in hand to form a support system for those struggling with their mental health. We foster new connections and reinforce existing links between the two.

two people holding hands supportively
  • 1 in 4
    adults 18 or older reported having a mental health condition
  • ~25%
    of those in faith communities who seek mental health care turn to congregation leaders
  • 70%
    of Americans are members of a faith community
Meeting in APA conference room

Faith leaders are often the first point of contact for community members struggling with mental health concerns. However, far too often, fear and shame associated with mental health conditions keep individuals from seeking care. From a public-health perspective, faith community leaders are often “first responders” when individuals and families face mental health or substance use issues, especially in medically underserved areas. In that role, faith leaders can help dispel misunderstandings, reduce stigma associated with mental illness and treatment, and facilitate access to treatment for those in need. Because religion and spirituality can play a vital role in healing, mental health professionals could benefit from exploring conversations about faith during a patient’s healing journey. 

We know that research shows that people turn to their faith leaders in times of crisis. They also turn to the medical system. When the two are in sync, it makes for a better, more holistic treatment strategy. — Rev. Jermine Alberty, M.Div., Executive Director of Pathways to Promise

Group picture of APAF staff and faith leaders

The APA Foundation's Mental Health and Faith Partnership brings psychiatrists and other mental health professionals together with faith leaders to create dialogue and understanding, which informs the development of educational resources and training to both disciplines.

The Mental Health and Faith Community Partnership Advisory Committee explores and shares best practices for direct linkage between faith communities and mental health service providers. Whether individuals are struggling with their own mental wellness or worried about the wellness of loved ones, we've developed resources and guidance for faith leaders and mental health professionals.


Mental Health Guide for Faith Leaders

Mental Health A Guide for Faith Leaders Guide Cover page displays two people holding hands in support

This Guide, and its accompanying Quick Reference sheet, provide faith leaders with the knowledge, tools and resources to understand and address mental health concerns. The Guide includes a general overview of mental health and mental illness and information on how faith leaders can support people with mental health challenges.

Learn more about the Mental Health and Faith Community Partnership here.