FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — With May being mental health awareness month, it poses a great time for organizations to announce new actions of support across all communities.

That is precisely what the George Floyd Memorial Foundation is doing with an announcement on Tuesday of a newly launched mental health program designed to improve resources and mental health outcomes for Black Americans.

Two key factors in the new initiative are working to remove the stigma associated with mental health treatment and also making sure interventions can be delivered in ways that are culturally competent.

Namely, the executive director of the foundation, Jacari Harris, says a focus needs to be given to the mental and emotional traumas people of color face as a result of police shootings and violence directed toward Black individuals and groups.

A leading figure in this effort is Dr. Calisha Brooks, an Ohio-based psychologist who is known for her groundbreaking research at Vanderbilt University on racial trauma in people of color.

“We are thrilled to partner with Dr. Calisha Brooks on this incredibly important initiative to help bolster the mental health of Black people around the country,” said Harris in a press release.

“According to research, trauma associated with police killings of Black people causes nearly 50 million days of poor mental health which results in a host of other problems. Our hope is that our mental health program will shine a light on the need for mental health treatment among Black people in the U.S.,” Harris added.

Brooks will be directing the foundation in providing a series of micro-grants to Black men and women seeking therapy. The foundation’s programming will also offer training measures to ensure mental health providers understand the issues that disproportionately face people of color.

“What happened to George Floyd, and unfortunately numerous other Black men and women around the country, caused a great deal of stress and trauma for Black people,” said Dr. Brooks.



“This program is designed to remove stigmas from mental health care and treatment among Black people and to educate those providing mental health services to help them better understand the issues facing people of color.”

People around the country can also benefit from this program. A variety of Zoom webinars will be hosted by Dr. Brooks, including twice-monthly healing justice workshops, black mental health conversations and more.

To attend the seminars or to learn more about the foundation’s new program, visit the George Floyd Memorial Foundation website.