The Georgia RIM Mental Health Alliance is a partnership between researchers at the GSU Prevention Research Center, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta, a local chapter of the global humanitarian organization. It was launched as a pilot program in 2022 funded by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, and its success has laid the foundation for an expansion in Clarkston and other communities across Georgia that is being funded by state agencies.
Ashli Owen-Smith, associate professor in the School of Public Health, noted that many foreign-born Clarkston residents endured traumas such as war, the loss of loved ones and displacement. Although their mental needs are high, a lack of awareness combined with language, financial and transportation barriers and the stigma associated with seeking assistance often prevents individuals from getting the help they need.
DeKalb County allocated initial federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to enable the Mental Health Alliance to provide 204 one-on-one counseling sessions led by post-graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health Services program offered through GSU’s College of Education and Human and Development.
The expansion of the scope of the Mental Health Alliance is just getting started, but anonymous feedback submitted by participants in the pilot project reveals the impact the program has already had.
Read more at News.GSU.edu.