Facilitated by: Tracee’ L. Black-Fall
Bridging the Gap: Connecting Community Mental Health and African American Faith Leaders
provides mental health providers with a knowledge based regarding faith as a protective factor and the role spirituality can play in treatment and recovery. In training, no hold barred dialogue allows providers to ask questions and share their concerns, challenges and working with the African American and other populations at risk. The African American Church promotes changes in ones thinking and changes in one’s behavior. The common hymn,
Can’t You See the Change in Me
, is evidence that it is expected that we would come and receive and thereby be changed. There is an opportunity through the embracing of faith and partnership that encourages recovery and resiliency as a reality.
How do we begin to have needed courageous conversations and efforts to support populations at risk (African American, Latino, homeless, youth in foster care, LGBTQ, restored citizens, etc.) to seek treatment and care? Faith leaders and providers can partner to support community members moving from crisis intervention to prevention. They can (providers and faith leaders) work together to reduce the stigma and misconceptions that prevail and remove those barriers which frequently prevent persons with mental health conditions and co-occurring disorders and their families from participating in the full life of their communities. Additionally, faith leaders can be a valuable referral source for health care providers.
The faith institution is central to many communities especially the African American village for it has been the source of spiritual and social supports that are key to their survival. Faith leaders and providers have skills and intimate knowledge and through a partnership can work together supporting beyond a traditional matrix addressing health disparities and social determinants of health. SAMHSA’s 8 Dimensions of Wellness is an excellent resource to support efforts to improve the mental and physical health for persons living with mental and/or substance use disorders.