Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network

Name of Innovative Program: 
Clergy Partnership for Improved Behavioral Health
Sponsoring Organization
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Donna Tosches, LCSW
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Physical Address of Innovative Program: 
5050 Poplar Avenue, Suite 1118, Memphis, TN 38157
Project Description: 

The Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network (LWN) helps connect people struggling with depression, anxiety, stress and other life challenges to resources in the community. Recognizing the vital importance of meeting people where they seek guidance, the LWN links with primary care physicians, community mental health providers, business and congregational leaders.

Since nearly half of Americans seeking help for mental health issues turn first to their clergy, LWN developed the Clergy Partnership for Improved Behavioral Health (CPIBH) to equip pastors and congregational leaders to be excellent navigators for those with mental health issues. By leveraging existing relationships with over 570 Congregational Health Network pastors and other MLH faith partners; the LWN team facilitates brief, targeted trainings with clergy and congregational leaders. By doing this, the CPIBH seeks to accomplish three goals:

1.         Increase faith leaders’ knowledge of mental health issues and suicide risk.

2.         Increase awareness of and intention to use the LWN as a resource for people with mental health problems and/or suicide risk and loved ones who seek support for people with mental health problems and/or suicide risk.

3.         Promote continued dialogue of mental health issues between faith leaders and congregations to decrease stigma and promote treatment.

Creativity and Innovation: 

 Recognizing the Mid-South as a strong community of faith, the LWN's most important innovation has been to link with an established network of faith leaders through MLH's existing Congregational Health Network. The CPIBH initiative partners with religious leaders of various denominations to educate and de-stigmatize mental health issues. These faith leaders have a unique and important connection to their congregants which is particularly salient for behavioral health concerns. To further enhance and innovate its link to the community, the CPIBH, through the LWN, employs a comprehensive marketing and awareness strategy which leverages various forms of technology, including a website ( and social media (


Leverages the relationships that trusted Health Systems have with their faith community.This partnership takes the lead to educate, inform and empower clergy and church members on the signs, symptoms, prevalence and treatment options for mental health disorders, thus decreasing stigma and opening up safe places to communicate about mental illness.

• Encourages faith leaders to support each other and recommend the LWN as a resource to

other faith leaders.

• Reaches leaders in other community sectors through their informed pastors and encourages their support of the LWN and of mental health education.

• Educates lay leaders of congregations about mental health, community resources and how to access help through the LWN and share this new knowledge with others.


• LWN was established through a generous gift of Debbie Jones in memory of her husband who died by suicide.

•Support of MLH Foundation in managing funds.

• Clergy Partnership for Improved Behavioral Health next step is creating a video that will educate people of mental illness signs, symptoms and treatment along with sharing information of the community resources available to offer support and treatment. This video will need one time funding for design and implementation. Upfront costs for this innovation is needed with low sustained costs.

• The Clergy Partnership for Improved Behavioral Health can reach larger and more rural audiences. In addition, the video can be shared via Church websites, Facebook, you tube, intranet and other educational venues.

•The LWN Advisory Committee is made up of faith leaders, business owners, mental health professionals, physicians and consumers are working to increase sustainability via grants, philanthropy and reimbursable revenues.


A high-degree of replicability given the prepared presentation materials that contain clear, concise information about important mental health issues and how to handle referrals.

•Model for connecting with congregational leaders.

•Model for developing broad community support.

•Plan to add video to go along with the presentation in order to replicate the module to rural churches and other non-face to face venues.

•Modules can be adapted to focus on various cultural issues pertaining to each audience.


The Clergy Partnership for Improved Behavioral Health (CPIBH) leverages the Congregational Health Network, which is comprised of over 570 denominationally diverse congregations, including a variety of Christian faiths, Islam, and many non-denominational congregations, with well more than 200,000 congregants. CPIBH currently measures the number of leaders who have received training from the program. To date, over 50 clergy leaders of various denominations have participated in the CPIBH, reaching tens of thousands of congregants and their families members with the message of and resources for improved behavioral health. 

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