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First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Department of Health Launch Thrive Learning Center

May 20, 2017

ThriveLC provides faith leaders with a free, interactive web portal to better respond to the mental health needs of their congregations and communities

NEW YORK— First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, along with Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, today announced the launch of the Thrive Learning Center. ThriveLC is a free, interactive online tool created for faith leaders to be better equipped to respond to the mental health needs of their congregations and communities. ThriveLC offers visitors a diverse set of mental health educational components: in-depth, self-directed learning modules on stress management; downloadable resources on anxiety, depression, substance use, psychosis and trauma; in-person trainings on the use of naloxone and buprenorphine; and an introduction to Mental Health First Aid. This resource is the newest interactive component of ThriveNYC, centered on the second annual Weekend of Faith for Mental Health.

“All across our city and country, people rely on their faith leaders for guidance and as pillars of strength in times of crisis,” said First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray, who spearheads the city’s efforts on mental health and substance misuse. “The Thrive Learning Center will ensure that faith leaders are more equipped to manage their congregants’ mental health needs by helping them understand the challenges and by connecting them to vital, life-saving resources. With this innovative tool, we are empowering faith leaders to aid in dismantling the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders, and transform the national conversation about prevention and treatment.”

“When a person is struggling with mental illness, a trained professional is not always their first contact for help. In fact, it is often their childcare provider, priest or rabbi who is entrusted with this sensitive information before anyone else. ThriveNYC embraces the idea that many New Yorkers find their closest networks of support in the places they live learn, play and worship. The new Thrive Learning Center brings a suite of resources and tools for addressing mental health concerns to the fingertips of community leaders and other trusted first responders. I’m proud to announce this important expansion of our work to change the culture and close treatment gaps just in time for our second annual mental health Weekend of Faith!” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.

"Community and faith leaders are often the first people New Yorkers turn to when they need assistance for themselves or their family,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The Thrive Learning Center will help community leaders better respond to questions around issues like depression, trauma and substance use. By working with trusted messengers, we can continue to break down the stigma associated with mental health conditions and connect New Yorkers to care.”

The self-directed learning modules are video trainings with accompanying toolkits, offered in two levels of intensity - basic and advanced. The first level features a stress management module with emphasis on self-care. After completing the module, users can take a quiz to evaluate their progress. The second level educates users about problem solving therapy, which will debut in the summer of 2017. Users are encouraged to check the website periodically as new content will be added.

"The Thrive Learning Center will be an excellent resource for community leaders," said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health. "ThriveLC will give leaders the tools they need to recognize signs of a mental disorder and know what to say when someone turns to them for help. By training members who are out in the community every day we will be able to reach people who are struggling and would have otherwise not sought treatment."

A nationwide study conducted by the National Comorbidity Survey found that 25 percent of people dealing with mental health issues sought help from faith leaders whereas only 16.7 percent turned to psychiatrists or general medical doctors. This year, two thousand houses of worship will devote services to the issue of substance use during the Weekend of Faith for Mental Health– reaching half a million New Yorkers and more than 40 cities nationwide.     
NYC Department of Health developed ThriveLC in the spring of 2016 after conducting focus groups among faith leaders and their communities, who sought more knowledgeable resources about how to address issues of mental health and substance use. People seeking support for themselves or their loved ones living with mental illness or substance are also encouraged to access NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173, or going to Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day in over 200 languages.

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