The Church and the Community Mental Health: Unrealized Potential

Volume 10
Winter 1982
The Church and the Community Mental Health: Unrealized Potential

During the past two decades the community mental health approach has enjoyed rapid growth and broad acceptance. Widespread human need, limited professional resources, and the high cost of professional services are major factors, which contributed to these developments. Economic considerations, however, have proven to be a major factor limiting implementation of the community mental health approach. The church has great potential to promote community mental health through primary prevention and can contribute to a lesser degree through tertiary prevention. The church offers meaning and purpose to life, and a setting, which can foster commitment to mutual caring and concern. Religious involvement can lead to an increased sense of personal well-being. Finally, the church has available a large pool of dedicated volunteers, thus circumventing the financial limitations which have hampered implementation of community mental health goals. So far, however, the community mental health movement has only given limited attention to the role of the church. A conceptual model, which suggests the role of the church and professionals in fostering positive mental health professionals, is presented; examples of current approaches consistent with the model are discussed.

T.B. Johnston, Dr. R.K. Bufford and Dr. L.A. Smith
355 - 362
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