March 26-27, Alesia Frerichs, VP of Member Engagement for LSA, took part in a conference with SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, to represent the Lutheran Services in America network and our 300 members.
This meeting brings faith-based organizations and providers together to collectively address mental health and substance abuse in the communities in which we live and serve, and was an inspiring group of diverse faith-tradition leaders and clinicians.
LSA was joined by Kerry Kernen, representing LSA member Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska and Rachel Bouman from our church partner the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), together representing the breadth of Lutheran social ministry.
Kerry was recently named chief operating officer of the Health 360 Clinic, a partnership of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska and People’s Health Center of Lincoln. Rachel is the Program Director for Disability Ministries and Leadership for the ELCA.
More about SAMSHA Faith-Based Initiatives: SAMHSA has actively engaged and supported faith-based and community organizations involved in substance use and mental health services since 1992, and was the first HHS department to undertake a specific faith-based and community initiative. The initiative emphasizes the key role FBCI organizations play in the delivery of substance use prevention, addiction treatment, and mental health services, particularly to underserved communities and culturally diverse populations. Also, SAMHSA’s FBCI Workgroup coordinates work in support of the FBCI that includes identifying and eliminating barriers to these groups.
SAMHSA-supported training programs and curricula support substance use prevention, addiction treatment, and mental health services education for multi-denominational leaders of the faith community, and also help create integrated, sustainable collaborations at the local level nationwide.