Black pastors, church leaders invited to mental health and suicide prevention training

Mental health professionals and faith leaders that serve black communities are partnering to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention with a training and educational event in April.

“There will be a great deal of activity, learning and support that’s going to be provided,” said Dr. Quinton Moss, MD, psychiatrist and CEO at Modern Psychiatry and Wellness, LLC.

The Taskforce to Improve Mental Health in the African American Community has created a new, one-day program that will raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

“We were able to partner with Miami Regionals, Interact for Health, Modern Psychiatry and Wellness, Kettering Ministry Care Line, Saving Grace Community Church, and the Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition as well as the American Psychiatric Association Foundation,” Moss said. “They all had a part in pulling this all together, to be able to have the training and resources for this great event.”

Restoring Connections: Greater Cincinnati Faith and Mental Health Collaborative will be April 21 at Miami University Voice of America Learning Center. The program is offered at no cost to participants and includes breakfast and lunch. Guests can register to attend at

“The African American community has had significant challenges in regard to engaging in mental health care. Also, we’ve had increased prevalence of certain conditions and incidents, most notably, we’ve had a dramatic increase in the number of people who have attempted and completed suicides over the past five years,” Moss said. “So, there’s a need in this community to provide greater support, access, education, and reducing stigma.”

For generations, the black church, or churches in general, have been an informal way that people have received mental health care, he said.

Additionally, pastors and church leaders often have their own mental health needs, Moss said.

This is the first event offered by the Greater Cincinnati Faith and Mental Health Collaborative. In an on-going effort, the collaborative was formed to raise awareness about mental health, reduce suicide, increase access to mental health services, and to provide education and on-going support for leaders in the black faith-based community.

“We’re hoping that people who serve African Americans in their communities and their churches all would participate,” Moss said.

Topics covered throughout the day will include mental health in black communities, depression, suicide, and how to refer community members for treatment.

“This meeting is focusing more on depression and suicide, and we think in subsequent meetings, because we hope to have this at least a couple of times a year, we’ll talk about things like trauma, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders,” Moss said. “We hope this will be an on-going supportive and learning opportunity for pastors and church leaders.”

He said there is a schedule of events planned, beginning with registration and breakfast. There will also be Question, Persuade, Refer/QPR Training offered in small groups. QPR is a suicide prevention training for participants to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide and question, persuade, and refer people at risk for suicide for help. The day will conclude with lunch.

“Pastors and church leaders can leave there with some tools to be able to help and start to support the folks in their churches who do come to crisis and how to get them to care,” Moss said.

Other highlights will include talks from Dr. Daniella Johnson, psychiatrist and chief medical officer at the Lindner Center for HOPE, who will speak to the status of mental health in the African American community, Dr. Moss will address depression and suicide prevention, and Senior Pastor Eric Hollie of New Jerusalem Apostolic Temple will help lead a discussion about pastoral self-care.

“Another important component of this is looking at pastoral self-care. One out of ten pastors contemplate suicide. So, our goal is to provide pastors with some support. That’s where Kettering has been very helpful in providing access to their Kettering Ministry Care Line, which is a support specifically for pastors and their families when they are in the midst of crisis,” Moss said.

How to go

What: Restoring Connections: Greater Cincinnati Faith and Mental Health Collaborative

When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21

Where: Miami University Voice of America Learning Center, 7847 VOA Park Drive, West Chester Twp.

Cost: The program is offered at no cost to participants.

More: Register at

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