Mental health literacy in religious leaders: a qualitative study of Korean American Clergy

Yuri Jang, Nan Sook Park, Hyunwoo Yoon, Jung Eun Ko, Hyejin Jung, David A. Chiriboga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although religious leaders in ethnic minority communities are often the first point of contact for mental health needs, little is known about their mental health literacy. The aim of the current study was to explore the knowledge and beliefs about depression held by Korean American clergy, using a qualitative approach. The Gateway Provider Model (GPM) and Jorm's conceptualisation of mental health literacy served as a framework for the enquiry. Seventeen clergy members serving in Korean communities in two U.S. metropolitan cities participated in an individual in-depth interview during the spring of 2013. Using the constant comparison method, the research team coded the data independently, compared and modified codes, and derived major categories and themes in consensus approach. Eight themes emerged from the interviews, and they were grouped into five categories: (i) the ability to identify the problem; (ii) knowledge about causes and risk factors; (iii) knowledge and beliefs about treatment; (iv) knowledge about resources and services; and (v) contextual factors. Despite some variations, a majority of the participants acknowledged that depression is an important issue in the Korean American community and felt a sense of responsibility for the well-being of their community members. The findings highlight the need for mental health education and training for religious leaders in ethnic minority communities to help them properly respond to community mental health needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Korean Americans
  • mental health literacy
  • religious leaders


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