ASCI’s Chapel Program Initiative: Empowering the Community’s Mental Well-being

The Chapel Program is a pioneering initiative developed through a collaboration between Bible Center Church, A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI), and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. The program addresses the mental health disparities within the African American community, recognizing that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking assistance for mental health concerns, which can escalate to mental health disorders if left unaddressed. The program emerged in response to various challenges such as the impact of COVID-19, increased violence, substance abuse, and other negative influences in the community.

The program strategically enlisted Bible Center Church as a key ally in identifying and supporting individuals in need. Community caregivers, selected from the congregations, play a pivotal role in reaching out to those who may be reluctant to seek help.

Linda Kent, Director of The Chapel Program, told ASCI, “The pastor initially would identify a congregant that needs services. Sometimes they’re too ashamed or too afraid to ask for assistance. So, the community care worker would reach out to that person and offer assistance [through The Chapel Project].”

Care workers conduct needs assessments to determine the issues at hand, which could range from food insecurity and substance abuse to domestic violence or familial challenges. The goal is to connect individuals with informal services and provide ongoing support, ensuring they attend necessary appointments and follow-ups.

The program recognizes the vital role of churches as community hubs and starting points for assistance. While initiated within the church setting, the Chapel Program aims to extend its impact beyond the congregation, reaching anyone in the community facing mental health challenges.

The approach is inclusive, emphasizing that non-members can access support by working with community care workers and sharing the necessary information for resource connections. The program’s focus is not only on informal assistance but also on facilitating access to formal services, such as therapy, for those requiring specialized help.

The Chapel Program, officially launched in August 2023, strives to break down barriers to mental health care by fostering community engagement. Various events, including informative sessions on dementia, depression, grief, and practical topics like healthy winter habits, exercise, and nutrition, contribute to the program’s educational outreach. The overarching message is that no one should face isolation, and the program endeavors to host monthly events that not only educate the community on mental health but also promote the Chapel Program’s accessibility and impact.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Chapel Project, please reach out to Linda Kent at 412-214-0831 or email her at

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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