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Attitudes About Mental Illness Among Seminary Students: a Qualitative Analysis


Tragically, a majority of people with mental illness never seek treatment; however, people may be more likely to seek help from religious clergy than from mental health professionals. In the current study, 25 Protestant seminary students were interviewed. The majority of students considered there to be biological, spiritual, and environmental causes of mental illness and favored psychological, medication, or spiritual treatments. Some participants reported stigma of mental illness, including avoidance and “dangerous” stereotypes. Religious clergy are frontline mental health providers, and their attitudes about mental illness are critical in reducing stigma and increasing treatment seeking among people with mental illness.

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This study was funded by an Anderson University Faculty Development Grant (Category I Scholarly Research).

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Correspondence to Laura G. Stull.

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Stull, L.G., Harness, J., Miller, M. et al. Attitudes About Mental Illness Among Seminary Students: a Qualitative Analysis. J Relig Health 59, 2595–2610 (2020).

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  • Clergy
  • Religious
  • Theology
  • Christian
  • Stigma