At Risk Youth

From Stigma to Freedom:
Establishing a Mental Health Program in Faith-based Community Organizations

This course is for those, mental health professionals, faith leaders, and families whose lives are or have been affected by mental illness themselves or in someone else. Times have changed, we now know that the communities can not enjoy civil or human rights without addressing historical and ongoing trauma. Faith leaders are no longer denying or hiding the issue of mental health. They are looking to partner with community mental health and private practice counselors to address the needs of their community in general and individual families. This seminar will provide learners with a survey of the literature of best practices and a toolbox for engaging with the faith-based community and the Mental Health community. Learn about referrals, group-based interventions, shared vocabulary and a quicker and more effective response to immediate and community trauma.




8 sessions over 4 Weeks (M/W)

Course Learning Outcomes

“As an adult, Rev. King experienced bouts of severe depression. The stigma against individuals with mental illness, which we still battle today, was even more profound in the 1960s. Concerned that people opposed to the civil rights movement would use it as a way to try to discredit him, his incidents with depression remained a closely held secret during his lifetime.”

From The Times Herald

Understand Mental Health Dilemmas

Understand how mental health and spiritual dilemmas present and how they intersect with and are continued by socio-cultural constructs.

Employ Best Practices

Learn, practice, and develop best practices for leaders to build organizations that address the intersection of faith and mental health and ways to better collaborate to foster inclusion in their organizations and communities.

Plan Strategically

Grow in systemic awareness for strategic planning and decision-making for faith communities.

Building Community: breaking down understandings and barriers to step up and step in

  • Seminar Overview
  • Shared Agreements/Ground Rules
  • Introductions of Teachers and Classes
  • Review of the learnings and research findings from the Kaiser Grant about Bay Area faith organizations and mental health

Understanding the manifestation of historical harms and dramatic/traumatic events in the context of community trauma

  • Case Study

    Community Trauma, Drama and Historical Harms 

    • Small groups review their experience with the Mental Health System and Churches 
    • Small group will go through the process of identifying positive and negative influences of mental health
    • Small Groups will talk about the unique issues of homophobia, perfectionism, Satanic possession, and prayer, shame/stigma)

Tradition, history, and community

  • Critical points of development and understanding of mental health and African American religious tradition
  • Review of Terms
  • Assessment: how to take a religious history assessment in the diagnosis

Building from the genogram

  • Case study

    • Put on your mask on first
    • Codependency  
    • Small group exercises of collaboration and cooperation 

Extend the research and standing on the shoulders of others; contemporary Interventions that work

  • Mental Health First Aid 
  • Focus Groups 
  • Listening and research in the local community

What do you do when…?

  • Scenarios from focus groups
  • Resources, responses, and processes developed from scenarios

Research that leads to action

  • Stigma Reduction 
  • Assessment 
  • Collaboration 
  • Response and Resilience

Strategic Plan Development

  • Put the elements of plan together
  • Plot timeline of a possible plan
  • Process of getting buy-in

Thought Leaders

Byron Bland

Rev. Donna E. Allen, PhD

Founder & Pastor of New Revelation Community Church

Oakland & Vallejo, CA

Lisa Brown

Lisa M. Brown, PhD, ABPP

Director of PhD Trauma Program; Director of Risk & Resilience Research Lab at Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

J. Goosby Smith

Peter Goldblum, PhD, MPH

Professor Emeritus, Palo Alto University, CA; Founding Director of Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic at Palo Alto University; Founding Director of UCSF AIDs Health Project

Palo Alto, CA

Ernie Jackson

Bishop Ernie Jackson, MBA

Bishop of Grace Tabernacle Church 

San Francisco, CA

Alvin McLean, Jr.

Alvin Mclean, Jr, PhD

Associate Dean, College of Psychology; Co-Director of Clinical Training at John F. Kennedy University

Pleasant Hill, CA

Cassandra Vieten

Cassandra Vieten, PhD

Executive Director of the John W. Brick Foundation Scholar-in-Residence; Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego; Senior Fellow, Institute of Noetic Sciences

San Diego, CA


Hardware Requirements
This course can be taken on either a microphone and video-enabled PC or Mac device, including tablets, and smartphones.

Software Requirements
PC: Windows XP or later.
Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
Browser: The latest version of Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred.
Zoom: Click here to download Zoom
Salesforce: Free and downloadable on your mobile device’s App Store.  Also accessible via your chosen internet browser via

Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Related Seminars

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Created by Emily M. Adams | Copyright Foundation for Justice and Peace, all rights reserved