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How a faith-based nonprofit is working with Black churches to offer mental health support

Village HeartBEAT Inc., a faith-based nonprofit in Mecklenburg County, has launched a pilot program to provide free mental health support in underrepresented communities through a partnership with Black churches.

Created in 2019 to address a range of health disparities, Village HeatBEAT last year got $3 million in state support to launch the pilot, called Bridge to Better Mental Health.

The program is in its early stages, officials say.

Each seven churches participating in the pilot has agreed to host a “hub” where free mental health services are provided, including support from licensed therapists.

Joelle Dugue, Village HeartBEAT’s executive director, said the effort provides a necessary resource to those still living with mental health effects from the pandemic.

“We saw an increase in mental health needs in the community of color,” she told QCity Metro. “We wanted to invest in our mission to provide better access to behavioral healthcare services for those in need in high-priority communities.”

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