Outreach and Education

The Outreach and Education Initiative connects with churches and faith-based organizations primarily serving people who are Black/African American in Chester County to offer information and resources regarding mental illness, substance use disorders and recovery.  Through Voice and Vision surveys in 2016 and 2017, Black/African American citizens expressed their experiences, needs, and recommendations about access to care and treatment. This data regarding mental health, substance use and recovery was confirmed by a literature review, such as:

  • Stigma, insurance issues, lack of information, cultural beliefs, and access to and availability of treatment deter people from seeking help.  
  • Many people seek help first from their faith community and/or religious traditions (prayer, meditation, reading scriptures, etc.).
  • Faith communities need more information and education about how to identify the need for and then assist people with getting professional help.

Some of the objectives of the program are to:

  • identify the training and resource needs of each faith-based organization
  • develop trusting relationships with faith-based leaders and congregants to foster dialogue about their needs
  • enhance/increase knowledge and information about available resources to address the needs
  • offer workshops, forums and events throughout the County to support networking in each community
  • create opportunities to develop partnerships between faith-based organizations and local mental health and substance use providers and community recovery support groups
  • promote spirituality as an important part of wholistic treatment and long-term recovery to the service providers and government systems
  • be a bridge between the faith community and service providers
  • support Chester County’s Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC) goals of early outreach, engagement and development of natural supports  

Visit and “like” the Outreach and Education Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chestercountyoutreachandeducation/

Counties Served

Chester County

Memorial service at Trinity United Bible Church in Coatesville on November 1, 2019. In photos: Pastor Kevin Hunt.

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