Campus ministry leaders promoting student mental health at a large public university in the Southeast United States

Charis Davidson, Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy, De Anne K. Hilfinger Messias, Daniela B. Friedman, Alyssa G. Robillard, Jessica Schwiesow, Peter Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite the widespread, historic presence of campus ministries at public universities, there is limited research exploring campus ministers’ role in student mental health. Prior research on campus ministries focused on student perspectives and organisational social norms. Conducted at a large public university in the Southeast, this research consisted of in-person semi-structured interviews with 12 campus ministry leaders about their experiences with students, including mental health challenges. The narrative interpretative analysis examined similarities and differences across campus ministers’ experiences. Campus ministers reported providing pastoral care for students during crises, referring students to mental health providers and providing transportation to appointments. Major considerations informing referrals included mental health providers’ attitudes towards religion, affordability of services, and their personal relationships with mental health providers. Although these campus ministry leaders reported actions to enhance access to student mental health services, additional training in mental health issues and institutional support would benefit both campus ministry leaders and their students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Mental health
  • United States
  • campus ministry
  • college students
  • qualitative methods
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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