African American Faith-Based Education and Awareness

Program Summary

Through its African American Faith-Based Education and Awareness initiative, the foundation is funding 11 faith-based organizations in Texas to increase awareness and perceptions of mental health, recovery and wellness in African American communities. The goals of this initiative are to educate African American faith communities about mental health, wellness and recovery, and to build on the unique strengths of churches and other faith-based organizations in African American communities to identify and connect congregants with local behavioral resources for treatment and support. An additional goal is to support faith leaders in addressing their own mental wellness.

Alliance for Greater Works Grand Prairie will be overseeing the training and technical assistance, partnering with the external evaluation team and providing support to the 11 grantees.

Background

Although rates of mental illness in the African American community are comparable with those of the general population, the outcomes are less favorable. In times of emotional distress, evidence has shown African Americans draw support from their faith, family and communities. In fact, research shows that 85 percent of African Americans identify as being spiritual and report using their faith as a way to address their mental health needs.

Despite their importance in the lives of African Americans, faith leaders and the faith community in general are often challenged in recognizing and supporting individuals who seek help with mental health needs. Although most communities in Texas have mental health providers and other resources to support individuals with mental health conditions, there is often a disconnect between churches, mosques, faith-based institutions and mental health resources, especially in the African American community. Mental illness is often misunderstood, and many barriers exist that interfere with African Americans accessing much needed mental health services and supports.

This initiative will enable churches, mosques and faith-based organizations throughout Texas to begin addressing some of these barriers through education, dialogue and awareness. In addition, there will be opportunities for these entities to begin developing connections with the local mental health provider community to identify ways to better partner to meet the mental health needs of African Americans.

Current Grantees

The 2014 Faith-Based Initiative for African American Mental Health Education grant awardees are:

  • Alliance for Greater Works (Coordinator, Grand Prairie – $180,000)
  • Bible Way Fellowship Baptist Church (Houston – $79,400)
  • Concord Church (Dallas – $78,000)
  • Dallas City Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church (Dallas – $77,000)
  • Great Mt. Tabor Christian Center (Fort Worth – $75,000)
  • God’s Way Christian Baptist Church (Taylor – $79,000)
  • Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (Dallas – $78,000)
  • Missouri City Baptist Church (Missouri City – $65,000)
  • Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church (Houston – $79,000)
  • Wheeler Avenue Central City Comprehensive Community Center (Houston – $81,000)
  • Windsor Village United Methodist Church (Houston – $70,000)
Hogg Program Officer

Vicky Coffee-Fletcher has committed over 27 years to enhancing mental health resources and supports in Texas in a variety of service positions. She has a passion for a ensuring the mental health system of care includes consumer, youth, and family representation as well as culturally competent care. Coffee-Fletcher joined the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in 2007, where she currently leads initiatives to improve the mental health of youths and families in the Houston area. She leads the foundation’s work in the area of African American faith-based education and awareness. Coffee-Fletcher is a founding member of the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Professionals Network and has also served as an executive board member and secretary for the National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health.

Mrs. Coffee-Fletcher holds a Bachelor of Science in child and family development and a Master of Education; both from Texas State University-San Marcos. She is a licensed professional counselor and a certified licensed professional counselor supervisor. For more on Coffee-Fletcher, see her bio.

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