We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Cookie Policy 
Medica Corporate Communications

Mental Health in the Black Community: Kente Circle trains providers on Cultural Competence

Part of an ongoing series examining the populations who face unique challenges to their mental health and how Medica is supporting programs to impact those challenges to care.

Kente Circle Training Institute (KCTI), was formed to address the lack of cultural competency among mental health professionals. This north Minneapolis clinic, owned by Larry Tucker, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), provides cultural competence training/resources to mental health professionals in clinical, academic, and nonprofit settings to build skills, credentials, and a support network. They also provide training to organizations that employ these professionals.

With the support of Medica, KCTI hired a full-time training coordinator, enabling them to add a conference for mental health care professionals, hire three additional trainers, and further develop online training tools.

KCTI helped 15 practitioners complete their credentials, coached 12 interns through a year-long training, and held four practicum classes for 40 university students. Through the three total conferences they facilitated, they trained 913 mental health care professionals. This contribution to our community is deeply meaningful in the development of new professionals, and expanding the skill set of seasoned mental health professionals, increasing access to good care inclusive of the level of cultural competency needed to effectively care for diverse populations across our community.

Their outreach expanded to include work with foster care staff and youth in foster care (they are currently developing an online training module that will be used nationally to train those in foster care, their families, and foster caregivers). According to Kente Circle, being able to work directly with youth, had positive results. They were able to train both staff and youth foster care participants on a weekly and monthly basis. In an assessment of this outreach, the youth who participated shared that KCTI made mental health easier to talk about and that they are more prone to ask for help or even share resources with their friends. These youth mostly belong to African American communities where mental and emotional health is taboo and not trusted.

Additional staffing also allowed Kente Circle staff to reach out to local colleges and nonprofits offering cultural response training and discussions. Overall their small group training sessions reached more than 400 professionals. With the expanded cultural competence training of practitioners, interns, and practicum students an estimated 600 families were served.