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Mental Patients Trust Clergy Most

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NEW YORK, Feb 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. Mental patients put more faith in ministers than in physicians, according to a nationwide survey.

About a quarter of 8,098 Americans with mental disorders told researchers they sought help from their pastors, priests or rabbis. On the other hand, only a sixth turned to psychiatrists or other health professionals, the National Comorbidity Survey indicates.

Project director Glenn Milstein, who teaches psychology at City College, New York, attributes the results primarily to two factors: the high cost and stigma of mental health care, and the ease of just going to a minister.

Mental patients "don't have to fill out insurance forms when they visit a clergy person," he said.

"People will just pull their minister aside for five or 10 minutes for informal counseling."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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