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The Color of HOPE: African American Mental Health in the Church

The Color of HOPE: African American Mental Health in the Church

This intriguing manuscript was extrapolated from Dr. Pamela Robinson’s innovative dissertation, “Educating the African American Church toward those with Disabilities to Have an Attitudinal Change,” into a published book, The Color of HOPE: African American Mental in the Church. In some fields, a published scholarly book is a preferred method for presenting a comprehensive view of pivotal research. Likewise, a book offers the freedom to discuss details, complications, connections, and ramifications in a way that is not possible in a dissertation.

The hope of this pioneering, comprehensive book is to provide religious care professionals and laity with a robust awareness of mental health disparities and the need for partnership between faith based and secular institutions. While there are several insightful texts available about African American mental health as it relates to spirituality, there are few texts designed as cross cultural, multi-modal resources specifically written to include dual audiences both professionals and laity (religious care professional, theologians, therapist, mental health professionals, community leaders, families, and individuals with mental health diagnoses).

In The Color of HOPE, renowned Clinical Social Worker and Family Therapist, Dr. Pamela Robinson uses years of experience to increase mental health awareness in the black community and abroad, through captivating real-life stories and simple, down-to-earth explanations of complex psychological problems that the African American community and faith-based institutions confront. Dr. Robinson masterfully blends spirituality, popular culture, quantitative research methodologies, social consciousness, and lived experience in this one-of-a-kind book.

The Color of HOPE is a must read not just for the African American Church Community, but for all people, all denominations, and ethnicities across racial lines. This book will enhance your knowledge base on how to help those who are dealing with mental health challenges in the church and community.

The Color of HOPE is a must read for a broad range of stakeholders, theologians, professors, clergy, spiritual care givers, therapist, pastors, faith-based institutions, practitioners, policymakers, community members, recipients of services, and others.


    According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a demographic study of the religious landscape in the United States reported that African Americans have the greatest degree of religious belief among all the racial-ethic groups (Pew Research Center 2015). Specifically, 97% of all African Americans reported belief in God, with 83% reporting belief in God with absolute certainty, and 75% of African Americans reported religion was very important in their lives, compared with 53% of people in the general population. While African American families may assist family members faced with psychiatric problems, this data suggests that Black churches are valuable places to implement mental health interventions for their population. Despite high rates of religious attendance and importance, African Americans fail to fully utilize professional mental health services relative to their White counterparts (Hankerson et al. 2011). Factors that contribute to these racial treatment disparities include distrust of providers, limited access to care, financial constraints, high attrition rates, and stigma of mental illness (Hankerson et al., 2015). African Americans who do seek professional treatment are more likely to receive lower-quality care and significantly less likely to receive guideline-concordant care (Gonzalez et al., 2010). Given the enormous individual and societal cost associated with mental disorders (Murray and Lopez 1997), exploring the role of African American faith-based organizations is an essential component of Black mental health.

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