Neighborhood Healers: Training Black Community First Responders in Mental Health First Aid

Grants and Contracts Details


Neighborhood Healers: Training Black Community First Responders in Mental Health First Aid Community first responders are members of the public, rather than professionally trained people, who are typically the first point of contact in distress or crisis (Phung et al., 2018). Among Black communities, where there is understandable cultural mistrust of professional first responders (Das et al., 2020) due to documented racial inequity in the quality of service they receive (Brooks & Hopkins, 2017), community first responders often include pastors and first ladies (Blank et al., 2002), hair stylists and barbers (Roper & Barry, 2016), community elders, family members, and civic organization members (Taylor & Kuo, 2019), as well as educators (Gershenson et al., 2017; Lia, 2020). Thus, providing Mental Health First Aid training to Black community first responders is a sustainable way to impact long term change for underserved Black Americans. Mental Health First Aid (Jorm, 2012) is an evidence-based training for community members, with proven efficacy in increasing mental health literacy. Through the development of the Neighborhood Healers Fellowship program, we intend to harness the strength of existing relationships to amplify the importance of mental health awareness and treatment for Black people in Lexington, Kentucky. This proposal includes development and execution of a 12-month fellowship for Black community first responders trained in Mental Health First Aid, with an accompanying Black Mental Health Public Education Campaign to improve mental health awareness, literacy, service initiation, and access for Black Lexingtonians. An annual Black Mental Health Survey will serve as the evaluation mechanism for this project.
Effective start/end date9/30/219/29/23


  • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administr: $180,352.00


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