History identifies that most African American are more likely to rely on and seek out their pastors or elders in their church for spiritual direction rather than seek out a professional when it relates to Mental Health. This session will focus on the severity of untreated mental health disorders among the African Americans and explore the role of the church in reducing the apprehension associated with mental health disorders. Develop a framework around how clergy and mental health providers can collaborate to reduce stigmas and provide culturally sensitive services for African Americans.
Valarie is the Founder and Executive Director of GFM The Synergy Center (GFMSC) for more than 15 years. She has over 18 years of experience in the Mental Health field and has served as the Interim Director of the Douglass Community Association as well as Director of Foster Care and Adoptions for Family and Children Services. GFM The Synergy was founded as a result of seeing a gap in culturally sensitive service providers for mental health among people of color. Her compassion for individual transformation and community restoration continues to drive her toward community healing. Valarie has a Masters Degree in Social Work and a Bachelors in Business Administration both from WMU. When available to counsel her specialty is senior leaders, executives, and faith-based counseling.