Population Health

September 7, 2022

Decreasing the stigma of mental health through a peer educator approach

Two people engaged in conversationThe pressing mental health crisis the world faces and major gaps in the mental healthcare system led Dr. Jody Early, professor at the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Nursing & Health Studies, to partner with Sandra Huber from the Verdant Health Commission to create Mental Health Matters (MHM). This program supports community-centered health education and promotion by connecting residents in Snohomish County, WA with resources and peer educators to contribute to their overall health and well-being.

MHM is committed to supporting communities most impacted by behavioral health disparities for a variety of factors. To address these resource disparities and shortage of providers, the program is predicated on training peer mental health navigators to support their communities by connecting people to resources and promoting mental health education to decrease stigma around the issue. They offer the training in both English and Spanish with plans to expand to include more demographics in the future to support as many people and communities as possible.

In addition to the peer mental health navigator training program, MHM hosts events in the community that continue the dialogue around mental health and uplift the experiences of marginalized groups and communities of color, as these groups are more likely to experience mental health disparities. The MHM team plans to expand their program to other areas of Washington in the future, continually refining their peer educator approach and focusing on promoting social consciousness of mental health issues.

Learn More >