Bible Based Fellowship, a predominantly-Black, non-denominational church in the Carrollwood neighborhood, is one of many churches addressing the mental health of their members.
Though Black churches have long been trusted resources in their communities, some haven’t been as supportive about mental health in the past.
Fear and misconceptions about mental health have affected how some church leaders respond to members in need, according to Dr. Katurah Jenkins-Hall, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Greater Reach Alliance of Counselors and Educators, or G.R.A.C.E.
“They would say it was that person’s fault. They would blame it on lack of faith, even on sin,” said Jenkins-Hall, who is a pastor herself. “And so if you identify those kinds of underlying issues as being causative, then your treatment is going to be you need more faith, you need to come to church more, you need to pray more and we know that’s not the entire story.”
Through G.R.A.C.E., Jenkins-Hall trains pastors to promote mental wellness among all their church members and how to recognize when someone is experiencing a crisis. The group also provides professional counseling to people who can’t afford to get care on their own.
Read more at WUSFnews.edu.