In the Fall of 2021, i2i was awarded a grant by Janssen Neuroscience to facilitate collaborative discussions with leaders in the Black or African American community to develop relevant and meaningful educational materials and resources that are racially and culturally appropriate for individuals who are Black or African American and diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness.
i2i is working with consultant Damie Jackson-Diop who is experienced in a variety of key areas and has served as an advocate, advisor, trainer, curriculum developer, services provider, mentor, board member, or consultant at federal and state levels. Ms. Jackson-Diop is highly proficient in trauma-informed recovery-oriented systems of care approaches to health and wellness, making her a key partner in an increasingly integrated landscape.
Ann Rodriguez, i2i Executive Director and Ms. Jackson-Diop are collaborating on interviews and focus groups with adult individuals who identify as Black or African American and are diagnosed with a Serious Mental Illness or have received mental health crisis or trauma-related services (including support services, inpatient or community-based services) in the last 3-5 years and who belong to a church or spiritual community. Faith leaders in Black communities, defined in a broad sense to include spiritual leaders representing both non-denominational organizations or traditional churches, are also included in the effort.
At the insistence of i2i and Ms. Jackson-Diop, Janssen is providing volunteers stipends for their time who are providing input into this process.