Why do people with mental illness receive less pastoral care?

Individuals struggling with mental illness are significantly less likely to receive the same level of pastoral care as persons in the hospital with physical illnesses, persons who are dying or those who have long-term illnesses. People often visit others with physical illness, bring them meals and provide other helpful services. Mental illness has been referred to as the modern day leprosy.

There are a number of reasons why these needs are not being met. Clergy do not receive adequate education about mental illnesses in seminaries. Some faith groups see mental illness as a moral or spiritual failure. Congregations are made up of individuals who mirror the stigma we find in society as a whole. Even if people are aware that someone is struggling with mental illness, they may not know what to do or say.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.