A new study conducted at Baylor University indicated that families with a mentally ill member would like their congregation to offer more assistance. The study, published in the journal “Mental Health, Religion and Culture,” was the first to look at how mental illness of a family member influences an individual’s relationship with the church.
“Families with mental illness stand to benefit from their involvement with a congregation, but our findings suggest that faith communities fail to adequately engage these families because they lack awareness of the issues and understanding of the important ways that they can help,” said Diana Garland, Ph.D., dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work and co-author of the Baylor study.
The study surveyed nearly 6,000 participants in 24 churches representing four Protestant denominations about their family’s stresses, strengths, faith practices and desires for congregational assistance. Families with mental illness ranked help from the church as a second priority; however, families without mental illness ranked it 42nd on their list of requests from churches.
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