Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 707–718

Help-Seeking from Clergy and Spiritual Counselors Among Veterans with Depression and PTSD in Primary Care

Authors

    • VA Puget Sound Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D)
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington School of Medicine
  • Andy B. Lanto
    • VA Greater Los Angeles
  • Cory Bolkan
    • Washington State University Vancouver
  • G. Stennis Watson
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington School of Medicine
    • University of Washington
  • Duncan G. Campbell
    • University of Montana
  • Edmund F. Chaney
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington School of Medicine
    • VA Greater Los Angeles
  • Kara Zivin
    • VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
  • Lisa V. Rubenstein
    • VA Greater Los Angeles
    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • RAND Corporation
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10943-012-9671-0

Cite this article as:
Bonner, L.M., Lanto, A.B., Bolkan, C. et al. J Relig Health (2013) 52: 707. doi:10.1007/s10943-012-9671-0

Abstract

Little is known about the prevalence or predictors of seeking help for depression and PTSD from spiritual counselors and clergy. We describe openness to and actual help-seeking from spiritual counselors among primary care patients with depression. We screened consecutive VA primary care patients for depression; 761 Veterans with probable major depression participated in telephone surveys (at baseline, 7 months, and 18 months). Participants were asked about (1) openness to seeking help for emotional problems from spiritual counselors/clergy and (2) actual contact with spiritual counselors/clergy in the past 6 months. At baseline, almost half of the participants, 359 (47.2 %), endorsed being “very” or “somewhat likely” to seek help for emotional problems from spiritual counselors; 498 (65.4 %) were open to a primary care provider, 486 (63.9 %) to a psychiatrist, and 409 (66.5 %) to another type of mental health provider. Ninety-one participants (12 %) reported actual spiritual counselor/clergy consultation. Ninety-five (10.3 %) participants reported that their VA providers had recently asked them about spiritual support; the majority of these found this discussion helpful. Participants with current PTSD symptoms, and those with a mental health visit in the past 6 months, were more likely to report openness to and actual help-seeking from clergy. Veterans with depression and PTSD are amenable to receiving help from spiritual counselors/clergy and other providers. Integration of spiritual counselors/clergy into care teams may be helpful to Veterans with PTSD. Training of such providers to address PTSD specifically may also be desirable.

Keywords

DepressionPTSDClergy

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013