Penn Bioethics Seminar Series (PBS): Kimberly T. Arnold, PhD, MPH "Advancing Mental Health Equity through Partnering with Black Churches to Implement Evidence-based Mental Health Interventions"
12:00pm - 1:00pm • Hybrid 1402 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Department of Psychiatry
Perelman School of Medicine | University of Pennsylvania
The Black church is a trusted pathway that has long been leveraged to decrease inequities. With over 80% of Black people in America identifying as Christian, employing community engaged approaches may be a viable way to deliver mental healthcare and create treatment linkages for a community that is largely distrustful of mental health providers. Given the increase in common mental health conditions during and after COVID-19, more faith-based organizations are increasing partnerships with mental health researchers along the research continuum – from understanding community needs to implementing evidence-based interventions – to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.
This talk will share best-practices and learnings from partnering with Black churches to implement evidence-based mental health interventions. Specifically, two current community-based research initiatives will be described. First, the Christian Mental Health Initiative project aimed at increasing mental health literacy among churchgoers using Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Our recent MHFA pilot (n=29) demonstrated significant improvement in participants’ self-reported comfort recognizing mental illnesses and the number of mental health referrals made over six months. Second, the Black Faith and Mental Health Coalition is a multi-sector alliance of churches, mental health providers, and academicians focused on reducing mental health disparities through providing evidence-based mental health interventions in Black churches, connecting church members to local mental health services, and conducting partnered mental health services research. Through forming partnerships with Black churches to implement evidence-based mental health interventions, we aim to bridge the faith and mental health gap to facilitate healing in communities.
Lunch provided for in-person participants.
Streaming available via Zoom.