The Church Course

The Clergy Course is a specialty group training that provides our Adult or Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in classes dedicated to ministers and church leaders. While some churches are fortunate to have in-house counseling services, not every church has the resources to develop church treatment potential. Our desire is to support as many churches as possible in developing a Mental Health Safety Net of trained first aiders.

We have adapted a goal from the sponsor of MHFA, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. The goal is for every church member to have at least one First Aider in their close circle of fellow believers, family or friends. Train 1 in every 15 members in MHFA.

It is recommended that this be approached in two phases.

Phase 1 – entails providing MHFA training to key ministers and leaders, identifying mental health professional members, and developing a directory of trusted providers and support resources for the church.

Phase 2 – involves dedicating sermonic messages to some aspect of mental health and offering MHFA training to the general membership. Mental Health Awareness Month is a prime time to begin offering the training, complemented by making the Mental Health Resources Directory widely available.

We want to advocate for the promotion and provision of mental health first aid in the black church. The black community has been challenged with stigma, health disparities, and a historical context of mistrust towards mental health services. We believe the black church can play an important role in helping to overcome these challenges. The benefits of promoting mental health first aid in the black church can include increased awareness, reduced stigma, building support networks, and providing practical tools for crisis intervention. Implementation of MHFA within the black church should also include establishing partnerships with mental health organizations, creating safe spaces for discussions, and developing culturally relevant resources. We believe promoting mental health first aid in the black church could be transformative and significant in fostering a healthier future for the community.

See also:

• Arnold, k. (2023, March 24). The Black Church: Our Refuge. Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Retrieved from

•  Metraux, , T. (2022, October 9). The Black Church and Mental Health Support. JSTOR Daily.

• Armstrong, V. (2021, July 31). The Role of the Church in Improving Mental Wellness in the African American Community. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Retrieved from

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline PSA from African American Faith Leaders – Click Here 
HHS Partnership Center Director, Rev. Dr. Que English and Choose Healthy Life (CHL) faith leaders share their lived experiences, address stigma and the importance of using the easily accessible 988 Suicide & Crises Lifeline.

Hope: A Guide for Faith Leaders to Help Prevent Youth Suicide

• Suicide Prevention Competencies for Faith Leaders: Supporting Life Before, During, and After a Suicidal Crisis


Rev. Sandra E. Brown Young
Adult MHFA Certified 5/2023
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This course is definitely a must have among the must haves in our society. It has caused me to reexamine my approach as a Ministerial leader, Mother, sister, Aunt, friend, neighbor. I have found it has made me a better communicator first with my family, then friends and those I minister to.
McClellon D. Cox, D.Min., BCC, Retired
Adult MHFA Certified 5/2023
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This is a valuable course for ministers. It will give ministers/pastors some tools to help congregants in distress. The course will help clergy to know how to assist those with mental health challenges.
Rev. Veronica Manigo
Adult MHFA Certified May 2023
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I would recommend this course in particular for the members of the ministerial staff at my church as well as health ministry members and class leaders (lay pastors).
Rev. Elaine Campbell
Adult MHFA Certified 5/2023
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The course went beyond my expectations: how to communicate, manage other’s expectations of you, ask questions, stop assuming, understanding .biases, accepting (people) for who people are, removing the burden and bad stigmas....

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