Religious leaders’ perceptions of the identification and referral of people with mental health problems in a Peruvian city

Julio Cjuno, Jessica Hanae Zafra-Tanaka, Teresa del Pilar García García, Alvaro Taype-Rondan*

*Autor correspondiente de este trabajo

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva


Introduction Religious leaders have the potential to play a significant role in the identification and referral of individuals with mental health problems. Objective This study sought to understand the perceptions of religious leaders in regards to identifying and referring parishioners with mental health issues to healthcare professionals, in Chimbote, Peru. Methods We performed a cross-sectional study that covered religious leaders of different religious groups in Chimbote. The leaders completed a survey that assessed their characteristics, past experiences of detecting and referring those with mental health problems to healthcare professionals, and perceptions of four clinical cases (for which we used the Clergy’s Perception of Mental Illness Survey instrument). Results We included 109 religious’ leaders of four religious groups (11 Catholics, 70 Evangelicals, 21 Mormons, and 7 Adventists). Of these, 50.5% had received at least one request for help with mental health issues from a parishioner in the previous month, over 85% expressed a desire for training in identifying mental health problems, and 22–30% reported receiving any training. While the majority of leaders were able to correctly identify cases of depression, alcohol dependence, and drug problems, only 62% correctly classified a case of schizophrenia. Despite this, 80% stated that they would refer their parishioners to healthcare professionals. Conclusion Parishioners tend to consult their religious leaders regarding their mental health and approximately 80% stated they would refer such cases to a healthcare professional. However, less than one-third of the leaders had received training to detect mental health problems. These results suggest that there is a need for training programs to improve the ability of religious leaders to identify and refer individuals with mental health issues.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe0300023
PublicaciónPLoS ONE
N.º30 March
EstadoPublicada - mar. 2024


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