Since 2018, the Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER) at BUSSW has trained faith-based leaders in behavioral health among the aging. Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Suicide Prevention Fund, this program was developed in response to the prevalence of behavioral health concerns in older adults and the reality that a majority of older adults who have these concerns do not get necessary services and treatment.
Older adults are, in fact, more likely to seek help for mental health challenges from their faith leaders. The goal of this training program is to equip faith leaders with the knowledge and skills to support the individuals and families who turn to them: recognizing common signs and symptoms, understanding where and how to make referrals for services, and identifying strengths and resources. This type of intervention can lead to early recognition and ultimately benefit the health system as a whole.