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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 46–65 | Cite as

Chaplaincy and Mental Health Care in Aotearoa New Zealand: An Exploratory Study

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper summarizes an initial exploratory study undertaken to consider the ministry of New Zealand chaplaincy personnel working within the mental health care context. This qualitative research (a first among New Zealand mental health care chaplains) was not concerned with specific health care institutions per se, but solely about the perspectives of chaplains concerning their professional contribution and issues they experienced when trying to provide pastoral care to patients, families, and clinical staff involved in mental health care. Data from a single focus group indicated that chaplains were fulfilling various WHO-ICD-10AM pastoral interventions as a part of a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to mental health care; however, given a number of frustrations identified by participants, which either impeded or thwarted their professional role as chaplains, a number of improvements were subsequently identified in order to develop the efficiency and effectiveness of chaplaincy and thus maximize the benefits of pastoral care to patients, families, and clinical staff. Some implications of this exploratory study relating to mental health care chaplaincy, ecclesiastical organizations, health care institutions, and government responsibilities and the need for further research are noted.

Keywords

Chaplains Pastoral care Spiritual care Mental health care Aotearoa New Zealand 

Notes

Acknowledgments

While no funds were directly granted to conduct this research, some administrative and research support were provided by the Palliative Care Unit, School of Public Health, La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia), The Healthcare Chaplaincy Council of Victoria (Melbourne, Victoria), and the Interchurch Hospital Chaplaincy Council (Aotearoa New Zealand). Acknowledgment is also given to the mental health care chaplains who willingly gave of their time to participate in this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Palliative Care Unit, School of Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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