Chaplaincy and Mental Health Care in Aotearoa New Zealand: An Exploratory Study Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

publication date

  • March 2013

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