Pastoral Care Education Program Helps Clergy Provide Mental Health Interventions

Expanded first-line mental health services for NYC Latino communities

To remove barriers to receipt of mental health services in low-income Hispanic communities in New York City, this project trained Hispanic clergy and lay ministers to provide short-term counseling and referrals for longer-term mental health care.

It built on the central role of the church in the functioning of Hispanic family and community life.

The grantee, at that time called the Institutes of Religion and Health (and now the Blanton-Peale Institute) is a licensed mental health provider founded in 1937 by the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale and Smiley Blanton, MD.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded two components of the program—Pastoral Care Awareness and Pastoral Care Skills—starting in July 1993.

Key Results

  • The Pastoral Care Awareness course drew more than 800 participants, a greater enrollment than anticipated.

  • Sixty-eight of the participants went on to complete the Pastoral Care Skills course during the grant.

  • Pastors who were trained reported applying the information and skills gained and having greater comfort and more knowledge in brief counseling and/or referring parishioners to professional counseling.