Mental health disparities impacting Christian Korean Americans: A qualitative examination of pastors’ perspectives

Document Type


Publication Date

July 2016


Korean Americans, mental health disparity, Korean American pastors


Mental health disparities impacting Korean Americans are multifaceted. Although encouraging developments have been made in the knowledge of mental health prevalence and professional help-seeking behaviors of Asian Americans, Korean Americans continue to experience many challenges and unique needs that require more ethnic- and culture-specific knowledge. Given the prominent role that religion, particularly Christianity, plays in the Korean American context, we conducted exploratory interviews with 10 Korean American pastors regarding their perspectives on mental health issues impacting the Korean American community. Using consensual qualitative research, we found four salient domains: (a) Barriers to seeking mental health services, (b) Challenges that pastors experience, (c) Pastor’s assessment of church’s current climate in approaches to mental health issues, and (d) What is needed. Implications for research and practice in addressing mental health disparities are discussed.