Vetta Sanders-Thompson, PhD, and Jermine Alberty, BSB/M, MDiv, will discuss the taboo subject of mental illness in the African American community. They will explore topics surrounding the causes of the illness, the reason for the secret, and the need to break the silence.Sanders-Thompson and Alberty will address major mental health issues in the African American community, their causes, their effects on physical health, and the taboos surrounding them. They will also discuss the role of the clergy in combating the stigma against mental illness, and Mental Health First Aid-an education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
Vetta Sanders-Thompson, PhD, is currently on faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, the Brown School, and was an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, Department of Community Health, at Saint Louis University. Dr. Thompson’s research has covered a broad range of issues addressing health and mental health. Her research includes developing and applying measurement tools to assess ethnic/racial identity, racism, discrimination and stressful life events, and socio-cultural determinants and correlates of health and mental health in African Americans.Jermine D. Alberty, BSB/M, MDiv, works currently at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health as the Mental Health First Aid Training Director in the Prevention, Outreach and Professional Education division. Jermine received his undergraduate degree at the University of Phoenix, and his Master of Divinity at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He has over 20 years of experience in human service oriented positions within non-profits, churches and the city of Kansas City, Missouri. He has worked in the mental health field for seven years and worked for Comprehensive Mental Health Services as the Coordinator of Staff Development and Community Education before joining MIMH. He is a statewide trainer of Cultural Competency in Mental Health Services and a National Trainer of Mental Health First Aid.
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