University of Cincinnati Scholar Examines If Clergy Can Help Fight Depression in the Black Community

Jean S. Anthony, an associate professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati is conducting research of whether a Web-based program, aimed at educating African American clergy on how to recognize signs of depression among members of their congregations, can be an effective tool in combating depression in the Black community.

Dr. Anthony notes that depression is widespread and African Americans are less likely than Whites to acknowledge that they are depressed and are less likely to seek treatment. Because many African Americans have a strong relationship with their church, Dr. Anthony believes that clergy can play a vital role in identifying depression and urging their members who are depressed to seek treatment.

Dr. Anthony holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

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  1. I think it will definitely help the clergy in identifying depressed patrons and thus encourage treatment practices. In some large churches there are counseling centers that if the clergy would address mental health issues from the pulpit the stigma for issues would decrease and the Black community would accept treatment more readily. We have held this stigma along with others way too long. It is time our communities step into the here and now, stop living in the past and embrace today to enhance our opportunities in the future.

  2. This is excellent and much neeeded . I salute Dr. Anthony and wish her much success, Professor Kevin P. Johnson, Metropolitan College of New York.

  3. I think a lot of blacks feel depressed but, see it as a sign of weakness or are afraid to admit because when even we say we feel anything we’re told to suck it up and get on with it or we’re just lazy looking for an excuse. Please address and let us know how to deal with it or what we should do for it and help us not to feel ashamed or less than because we are human.

    • Wonderful comment about African Americans in general don’t allow themselves to admit they are depressed or stressed or have any form of emotions that may appear weak to others or even to themselves at times. We have been trained since slavery to work right through no matter what the situation or circumstances are. I have ran lots of therapy groups with African American women and many times they have a hard time allowing themselves to admit they are tired, stressed, depressed, anxious …. any form of emotion or even physical sign of weakness. We must encourage one another to accept our humaness, to nurture ourselves in times of depression etc., and to allow ourselves time to recover from hurts and pain.

      I was a prime example, I tried to never never miss a class unless I was deathly ill (out of 9 years of college through to a doctorate). I never took an incomplete, never turned an assignment in late or slopily done. I pushed for perfection at all times. I later found out that other students took incompletes, missed classes etc., and still got As like me but were less stressed. I know it was because I could not allow any professor or anyone for that matter, see me as weak. I finished the doctorate with full blown anxiety. I would find myself underlining and highlighting fashion magazine articles!!! HA HA out of being driven to do so, so well!! I now teach my clients to use relaxation, mediation, and other stress reduction techniques.

  4. Dr. Anthony it was so exciting to see that you are involved with the clergy. I graduated from the Nursing College with a masters in nursing and had planned to do my thesis on this subject and had met with a number of the African American pastors (Baptist in particular) prior to being attacked on my job and was unable to complete the thesis (I comped out instead). I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and see the need frequently in my work. African American pastors are VERY important and much needed in respect to the mental health of our community. I would be interested in assisting or hearing how things are working out. Please advise!!!

  5. Dr. Anthony,

    I would love more information about this study and website which I would pass along to a colleague at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. W. Daniel Hale, Ph.D., is a special advisor to the president of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, director of the Healthy Community Partnership and author. He is instrumental in presenting a seminar in October at Hopkins – Building Healthier Communities: Faith-Health Connections – and I know he would be interested in your work.

    I am a graduate of the College of Nursing and have been serving as a faith community nurse in my congregation for nearly 13 years. In addition, I am the secretary of the Presbyterian Health Network which tries to encourage wholeness of body, mind, and spirit of individuals in congregations.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  6. I too am very interested in learning more about the study and also conferences which discuss the combination topics of faith and mental health. I am a practitioner and I find faith to be one of the most propelling forward element in some individuals lives. Faith seems to provide both a barrier and a change agent for problem areas in peoples’ lives. I am very interested in attend conferences and training programs on these combined topics.

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