Locating the Social Origins of Mental Illness: The Explanatory Models of Mental Illness Among Clergy from Different Ethnic and Faith Backgrounds

Abstract Clergy have historically provided ‘healing’ through various spiritual and medical modalities and even in modern, developed welfare economies they may still be an important help-seeking resource. Partnerships between religion and psychiatry are regularly advocated, but there is scant research on clergy explanatory models of illness. This paper aimed to explore their relationship with psychiatry and to examine how clergy in various faith groups conceptualised mental health problems. In this qualitative study using in-depth interviews, these issues were explored with 32 practising clergy in the UK from a range of different Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith organisations and ethnic backgrounds. This paper presents findings related to clergy explanatory models of mental illness and, in particular, how the social factors involved in causation are tinged with spiritual influences and implications, and how the meanings of mental distress assume a social and moral significance in distinctive localised matters.
Source: Journal of Religion and Health - Category: Medical Ethics Source Type: research

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