Communal Mental Health: How We Care for Our Mental Health Together

The Mental Health and Wellness Program of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) prioritizes mental health justice and wellness equity for the upliftment of all people. As a part of this program initiative, in collaboration with the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), NBA provided culturally relevant spaces to practice and discuss resources for Black mental health and wellness during 2024 Black History Month.

Self-care is important for our mental health, but we also need communal care. Studies show that religion, social and emotional support from family/peers/community, and Black identity are some of the most significant protective factors for Black mental health. This panel discussion focused on culturally relevant ways we can be intentional about our mental health care in the same ways we are intentional about our spiritual care and how we can do this work of care as a community.

Click on the graphic below to watch the webinar!

Meet our Panelists

Joselyn Spence serves as the Director of the NBA’s Mental Health and Wellness Initiative. In this role, Joselyn works to design and implement programs that promote holistic wellness across all NBA programs. This work is done through the creation of learning resources for clergy and community leaders, addressing the needs of pastors in a variety of ministry settings, sharing the stories that help to eliminate stigmas related to mental health and wellness. She is passionate about mental health care, holistic wellness, communal care ethics, and spirituality. As a holistic wellness specialist, she has worked at the intersection of these passions to develop research and provide empathic care to all she is called to serve.

Three words adequately describe Rev. Dr. Milton Keys: Preacher, Teacher, and Producer. Keys uses these three gifts to change the world. Although he was born with cerebral palsy, and a bleak diagnosis, Milton has let nothing stop him from achieving his goals. Despite being given a two-year life expectancy and was supposed to have severe cognitive disabilities Milton has earned 3 degrees. He has produced and released 13 musical albums, four plays, one ballet, and held eight youth summits in the last decade. Milton’s passion for education is realized through his work developing young artists and as Chief Technical Officer and Instructional coach at Indy Urban Youth Music Academy. He has also lectured students of all ages through motivational speaking and poetry.

More importantly, Rev. Keys is a child of God and a preacher of the gospel who has been in ministry for 24 years. He became an ordained minister in 2007 and received his Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in May 2017.  In May 2023 Milton Received his Doctorate in ministry from Christian Theological Seminary. He has delivered sermons to congregations at several services, conferences, and national conventions throughout the Midwest. He has also lectured students of all ages through motivational speaking and poetry.


Joi McCreary is a pre-licensed master’s level Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Resident Therapist, Behavior Consultant, and Certified Life Coach. She’s also certified in yoga, spirituality, and wellness and is currently a candidate for a doctoral degree in Health Care Administration.

Joi is a well-versed, culturally aware professional, with years of experience in leadership, management, academia, clinical care, and ministry. She provides psychotherapy for adult individuals, couples, families, and groups. She develops resources, tools, and facilitates interactive lectures around mental health, holistic wellness, gender, and sexuality. She’s passionate about helping individuals develop healthy personal and professional practices that serve them well.

Since 1986, Drs. Matt and Mary Harris have built Project IMPACT from an idea to a Nationally recognized program that has been recognized by three Presidents of the United States (G.H.Bush 92’, G.W.Bush 07’, Obama 12’, Obama 17’).

Both Matt and Mary received their Bachelors Degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Matt received his Master of Divinity Degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, is an Ordained Minister in the Christian Church (Disciple of Christ), and earned his Doctorate Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Mary received her Master’s in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University and her Ph.D. in Organization Management at Graduate Theological Foundation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Matt and Mary are the proud parents of two beautiful children: Myesha and Matthew-Cleveland (MC), who currently serve in the United States Navy.