D.C. Church Provides Free Therapy to Grieving Congregation

Press Release – May 29, 2020

D.C. Church Provides Free Therapy to Grieving Congregation

Press Release – May 29, 2020

East Friendship Baptist Church offers free online therapy through partnership with black-owned teletherapy company, Henry Health.


COVID-19 has taken hundreds of lives across the District of Columbia. As social distancing limits our ability to mourn and grieve in culturally traditional ways, faith leaders are navigating a new normal that supports the reduction of infections, but restricts their ability to provide in-person hope, comfort, and support to parishioners in great spiritual and emotional need.

East Friendship Baptist Church in Northeast D.C. knows all too well the tragedy COVID-19 is causing humanity. More than 25 families in their congregation have been directly impacted by the virus and the entire East Friendship community is mourning the death of ten souls lost to this pandemic.

“I have never experienced anything like this before in over ten years of pastoring. It is heartbreaking to speak with families who are not able to send their loved one off properly,” says Senior Pastor Melvin Maxwell.

East Friendship Baptist Church, like most houses of faith, has increased engagement and ministry outreach using the tools at their disposal. In response to the extreme emotional hardship caused by this unprecedented moment, the church’s leadership partnered with Henry Health to offer free online therapy to its congregation. Henry Health is a Black-owned mental health provider headquartered in D.C. that specializes in providing culturally intentional self-mastery tools and therapy.

“Every person deserves to have their culture honored, especially in therapy,” says CEO and Founder, Kevin Dedner. Henry Health uses an evidence-based technique developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins to increase the cultural humility of providers and help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to effectively counsel patients from diverse backgrounds. The company’s therapists also completed a training module on Faith-Based Counseling prior to the launch of the church’s therapy program.

“The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the black community is rooted in systemic oppression,” says Rev. William Lee, Associate Pastor of East Friendship Baptist Church. “It is important for our congregation to have access to therapists who are aware and responsive to that reality.”

Senior Pastor Melvin Maxwell and Rev. William Lee lead a prayer during the church’s last mental Health event before COVID-19, “Let this Mind Be in You”

The church has set aside funds to cover the cost of therapy for its members, eliminating the financial barrier that often prevents individuals from seeking mental health support.

“The leadership of East Friendship Baptist Church is being very sensitive to the needs of its members by ensuring their access to culturally intentional mental health services,” says Dedner. “Even before the pandemic, we saw unacceptable rates of diagnosed clinical depression in certain parts of the District. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing problem.”

About East Friendship Baptist Church

The leaders at East Friendship Baptist Church believe in ministering to the whole person, not just their spiritual needs. We believe that if the mind is not well and being nourished properly, it can cause a disconnect to the spiritual person. Sitting with people and acknowledging their feelings of oppression, grief, and marginalization helps the individual to be able to cope and deal with life better. It does not always make their situation go away, but it does help in giving them the inner strength to cope.

About Henry Health

Henry Health is the leading provider of culturally intentional mental health services. Our disruptive digital platform provides a comprehensive suite of teletherapy services and self-mastery tools for diverse populations who are underserved by traditional resources. We exist to ensure that individuals can show up whole, operate with joy, and live with power. If your organization is interested in partnering with Henry Health, please visit our partnership page or reach out to us at partners@


We exist to ensure people can show up whole, operate with joy, and live with power.

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