Adolescent mental health: the role of youth and college pastors

William Hunter, Matthew Stanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study investigates the gatekeeping role of youth and college pastors, specifically exploring their psychological training, perceptions, attitudes, and interactions concerning adolescent congregants' mental illness. Texas youth and college pastors were anonymously surveyed regarding referral patterns, mental health interventions and contact, adolescent mental health perceptions, and means of collaboration. While the sample reported actively working with numerous adolescent mental health issues, the majority did not feel qualified to work with significant psychopathology. Despite this, they reported using various intervention methods, with the most common being initial counselling followed by a referral. Although the sample frequently referred to other professionals, they described many perceived barriers in collaborating with others in the mental health field. Overall, a positive role exists for youth and college pastors in adolescent mental health; however, tensions and conflicts between pastors and mental health professionals hinder the usefulness of these unique gatekeepers. Implications and recommendations for mental health professionals are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-966
Number of pages10
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2014


  • adolescents
  • collaboration
  • referral
  • youth/college pastor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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