'Behind the Blue': The Neighborhood Healers Project with Candice Hargons

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2022) — Historically, studies have shown that Black individuals are less likely to seek and accept mental health care due to concerns regarding stigma as well as mistrust of professionals caused by documented racial inequities in treatment.

In Lexington, the Black population represents approximately 15% of residents, but in 2020, Black people represented only 7% of the population receiving community mental health services in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region.

The Neighborhood Healers Project, a new pilot project led by University of Kentucky researchers, aims to reduce this equity gap by addressing the stigma and helping Black Lexingtonians access the mental health services they need.

Candice Hargons, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator (PI) says the five-year project, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will create a support system of “first-responders” within Lexington’s Black community who are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health crises and connect people to needed resources.

Hargons, a licensed psychologist and associate professor in the UK College of Education’s Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, appears on this episode of "Behind the Blue" to discuss how this project will impact the Lexington community and beyond.

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