July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This July, communities are facing the “perfect storm” of crises that are deepening the disparities in mental health and wellbeing. The current COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, behavioral health crisis, and the civil unrest stemming from recent incidents of police brutality has impacted all of America, but disproportionately affects communities of color.
Community and faith-based organizations play an essential role in helping these communities handle deeply experienced trauma, loss, and grief. Poor access to and mistrust of health care systems leads individuals to reach out to their familiar and trusted faith-based organizations and leaders. In many cultures, spirituality is a key driver of wellbeing and hope. Beyond this, faith-based entities have also been reliable providers of social services and emotional supports, and the coordinators of a wide array of health-related services and public health campaigns. Well-established and new models of faith-based partnerships are continuing to augment the limited behavioral health workforce in these communities. Faith leaders are coming together across communities to organize, support, provide, engage and instill hope.
Join this NNED virtual roundtable hosted by the NNED National Facilitation Center and SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity, in partnership with SAMHSA’s Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network Coordinating Office. Learn how faith-based NNED partner organizations are supporting the mental health concerns of racial/ethnic minorities and providing opportunities to receive support and connection through faith-based practices and partnerships.
This NNED virtual roundtable will highlight:
- Faith-based partnerships that address the behavioral health in communities of color and augment the behavioral health workforce;
- Cultural and spiritual practices provided by faith-based organizations to strengthen community and social connectedness during times of crises;
- Faith leaders’ strategies to help diverse communities cope with trauma, loss, and grief; and
- The importance of and role of faith leaders in promoting self-care among the health care workforce, caregivers, and themselves.
NOTE: Due to the substantial interest in this Virtual Roundtable, the number of attendees able to join live may be limited by the platform. We strongly encourage you to join the Virtual Roundtable early to secure a spot. A recording will be sent to all who register.
Current Confirmed Panelists
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler serves as Pastor at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Harlem. In this capacity, he provides spiritual guidance to the congregation. He teaches new member orientation and Bible study classes. He is actively involved with the youth ministry and the evangelism ministry. He is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Butler is employed by Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) as the Vice President of the Equitable Development Department since 2003. He has assisted over 3500 individuals and families to become first-time homeowners. Rev. Butler enjoys working with the youth in the Harlem community. He coached over 15 years with the Harlem Little League, the Harlem Athletic Baseball Association, and the Harlem Soccer League. Rev. Butler also plays the bass violin and the bass guitar and leads a gospel/jazz band. He can be found gigging around the city with various musicians.
Dr. Farha Abbasi
Dr. Farha Abbasi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University and core faculty member of the Muslim Studies Program. She is from Pakistan and settled in the United States in the year 2000 with her three daughters. In January of 2009, Dr. Abbasi received the American Psychiatric association SAMSHA Minority fellowship. She used the grant money to create awareness about cultural competency, to redefine it as not just tolerance but acceptance.
Her areas of interest are cultural psychiatry and teaching medical students how to provide culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients. She works directly with Muslim American community to encourage integration rather than isolation from mainstream society. In addition to her efforts to build bridges between the two cultures, Dr. Abbasi work as a psychiatrist has led her to address the barriers that stigmatize and silence mental health. She is the founding director of the Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference. She has served on many boards and committees including Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities American Psychiatric Association. She currently chairs the Mental Health Task Force for the Mayor of Lansing, Michigan.
María del Carmen Uceda-Gras
María del Carmen Uceda, alongside her husband Jesus, launched Fully Alive Health, the first Latino community owned health plan offering wholesale healthcare membership in Dallas, Texas. Prior to that, she was President of her nonprofit organization, The Works of Our Mother of the Americas, working with Catholic parishes throughout North Texas developing successful faith-health partnerships and programs guiding thousands of Latinos to fully heal, love and lead in God’s Way. Recognized at the national level for her innovative work among Latino populations bridging medical, behavioral and spiritual health, she was invited to serve as co-chair of the Faith-Based Learning Cluster, an initiative by the National Network to Eliminate Disparities and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration creating a curriculum to empower lay community-based peers to bridge the behavioral health and medical community.
Rev. Pausa Kaio “PK” Thompson
Rev. Pausa Kaio “PK” Thompson is a Samoan American clergy, activist and theologian. He is an alum of the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary in American Samoa, Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, Boston University School of Theology, and is a Ph.D. student at Claremont School of Theology. His scholarly work accentuates the theological discourse, indigenous culture and wisdom, and social justice issues of Samoa, and Samoans in diaspora. His ministry encourages people to be change agents in the world by invoking a more socially conscious ethic of Christian practice.
Dr. Sidney Hankerson
Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA is a Co-Director of the Columbia University Wellness Center and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed a NIMH-funded research fellowship focused on partnering with Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) to reduce mental health disparities. He participated in the White House Dialogue on Men’s Health after publishing the first-ever depression screening study in African American Churches. This study showed rates of depression in churches comparable to those in urban primary care medical clinics. He was also a panelist for the White House ‘Making Healthcare Better Series,’ designed to highlight how partnering with trusted community settings, like FBOS, can increase access to mental health care. Dr. Hankerson is a certified instructor in Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based mental health literacy intervention, and has delivered this training to clergy, community members with serious mental illness, and other community members. He was appointed to the American Psychiatric Association Council for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the inaugural APA Council of Faith and Community Partnerships. As a clinician, Dr. Hankerson provides direct clinical services to patients at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Harlem, New York.
Clarence Yarholar is a member of Thlopthlocco Tribal Town and the Mvskoke Nation of Oklahoma. Both native tribes are of the Creek people and he currently live in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Since 2013, he has been employed with the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma in Mcloud, Ok. as a substance abuse counselor in the Behavioral Health department. He is the Chairman of the Episcopal committee in the United Methodist Church with the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and serves to help the Bishop understand the contrast between the Indigenous Conference and the Oklahoma Conference. He received a Masters of Art degree in Christian Ministry with a specialization is in “Prophetic Witness and Ministry” from the Saint Paul School of Theology. He is married to Patricia who works with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board.