Faith Based Initiative

Jim Siemianowski, 860-418-6810,
Marcus M. McKinney, D.Min., LPC, 860-714-4183,

Background and Goals

DMHAS recognizes the contributions the faith community makes that are supportive of the Department and its mission. The faith community has historically offered effective assistance to people in need by using a range of human, financial and spiritual resources. Their efforts have often brought services to individuals that at times, are beyond the capacity of the Department. In order to support the faith community and their ability to respond effectively to mental health and substance abuse problems, DMHAS has developed a strategy that is designed to further develop the relationship between the Department and the faith community while enhancing the capacities of the faith community to respond to individuals within their community. 

The Goals of the Faith Initiative:

  1. Enhance the capacity of the faith community to respond to mental health and substance abuse problems within their community.

  2. Strengthen the linkages between the Department and the faith community in order to most effectively draw upon the resources within each system.

  3. Enhance the capacity of the faith community to contract for and provide mental health and substance abuse services within their communities.

  4. Coordinate with other state agencies in order to identify areas for collaboration and service development with the faith community.

Strategy and Implementation:

In order to address these goals, DMHAS has developed a comprehensive strategy. The strategy and the major implementation tasks focus in a number of areas. The areas are as follows: 

  • Training and Education
    DMHAS has begun to develop and implement a comprehensive array of trainings designed to address the goals outlined above. DMHAS’ efforts are directed at both the faith community and our behavioral health providers. This two-pronged effort will help to strengthen internal staff capacities while also assisting the faith community to more effectively respond to social concerns within their communities.  

  • Building Faith-Based Service Capacity
    In order to begin to build these capacities, DMHAS must first evaluate what faith organizations wish to provide formal services and the resources that currently exist or can be developed with the faith community. As part of this process DMHAS must assess the readiness of faith-based organizations and then work in collaboration with other state and federal partners to develop training programs that can support the further development of these organizations.

  • Coordination and Linkage with the Faith Community
    As part of our strategy, DMHAS is seeking to build more effective linkages with the faith community. This aspect of the plan seeks to identify faith resources and key players and will work to formalize linkages to these organizations.  

  • Faith-Based Crisis Network Development
    DMHAS has developed a faith-based crisis network through funding DMHAS received from SAMHSA. Members from the faith community received intensive training from St. Francis Pastoral Care and have been linked to the DMHAS Behavioral Health Crisis Response Teams. Most recently members of the faith community participated in regional simulations. Future efforts will be targeted at continued training and recruitment for this network.

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