Four Community Research Fellows Cohort III Alumni, Angela McCall, Chavelle Patterson, Gloria Sterling-McGill, and Cassandra Hayes, have been awarded a $1,000 grant from The GrassROOTS Community Foundation to conduct community-based participatory research among unemployed African-American women in St. Louis.
Their project, Unemployment and Mental Health Literacy among African-American Mothers in St. Louis County, will research the impact of increasing mental health literacy among unemployed African-American mothers and how it may affect personal and children’s well-being. African Americans have the highest rate of unemployment in the United States. In St. Louis, 60% of African-American mothers are the head of their households.
“I’m grateful to have the opportunity through the Community Research Fellows Training (CRFT) Program and the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) to examine a relevant research topic of interest in the community where I live. I’m looking forward to what unfolds during the course of the study and the impact that the conversation will have on the mental wellbeing of African American mothers and the community-at-large,” said Chavelle Patterson.
Based on the pilot project findings, mental health interventions, education, and awareness avenues may be established and implemented. Ideally, the pilot project will help increase mental health literacy in the African-American community and help unemployed mothers find mental health services for themselves as well as for their children when needed.
“There is a stigma to mental health particularly in the African-American community. This can prevent people from knowing the signs and seeking help. Thus, it is extremely important that we increase mental health literacy. I am excited to see CRFT alumni developing and implementing pilot projects on real critical issues,” said Melody Goodman, PhD, Director of the CRFT program. Both Goodman and Vetta Thompson, PhD, of The Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) are supporting the pilot project as faculty advisors.
The CRFT Program is a comprehensive public health research training course through PECaD at Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center. The program objective is to promote the role of underserved populations in the research enterprise by enhancing community capacity for community-based participatory research. CRFT program goals are to 1) train community members to become good consumers of research, 2) understand how to use research as a tool in improving health outcomes in their communities, and 3) increase community capacity for collaboration with academic research institutions in mutually beneficial projects and programs.