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Monday, February 19, 2024

Meet the Black Couple Who Have Traveled to 61 Cities in 32 States to Teach Mental Health Awareness

Lorenzo and Jordon Lewis

Nationwide — Lorenzo Lewis and his wife, Jordon, have traveled across the country teaching frontline workers how to care for the mental health of African Americans who are often in their care. So far, they have trained more than 4,000 people, but their upcoming tour will take them to 22 more cities to reach thousands more. All in all, their goal is to reach more than 100 million people worldwide.

Their advisory firm TCP Ventures, along with its nonprofit arm The Confess Project of America (TCPA), announced that it’s taking its “Beyond the Shop Community Mental Health Advocate Training Program” on a 22-city tour across the U.S.

Launched in November 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Beyond the Shop initiative empowers community leaders with the knowledge and skills to support the mental health of underserved communities.

Tour stops include, but aren’t limited to, Philadelphia (May 20), Dallas-Fort Worth (June 10), Houston (June 24), Los Angeles (July 8), Chicago (Aug. 5), Washington, D.C. (Oct. 7), Boston (Nov. 18), San Franciso (Dec. 2), Atlanta (Dec. 16), and a host of others.

The full 2024 tour schedule can be found here.

For TCP Ventures Co-Founders Lorenzo Lewis and his wife Jordon Lewis, these trainings have been a long-term goal in helping to strengthen the mental health movement they’ve built over the years.

“I’m excited to take Beyond the Shop to communities around the country, empowering everyday people to be advocates and support systems for the most vulnerable,” said Lewis. “I’m so proud of what we’ve built to help keep pushing mental health equity forward.

TCP Ventures focuses on training community “mental health gatekeepers” for suicide prevention, which include barbers, educators, doulas, coaches, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and others. These individuals can connect directly with people in the community, bringing them the mental health support and resources they need.

The efficacy of TCP’s training is backed by research from Harvard University, which found that everyday people can act as a mental health lifeline and through early interventions, can save lives.

As one of America’s first mental health awareness movements, over the last seven years, TCPA has reached 3 million people across 52 cities and 30 states, training barbers and stylists to be mental health advocates. The organization now aims to reach 120 million people across the globe with mental health awareness, support, and advocacy training.

At the age of 10, challenges in his youth forced Lewis to go into a behavioral facility that changed his life and made him the person he is today. This led him to his life’s mission to help young people and adults struggling with mental health issues.

“The training of our ‘gatekeepers’ is so essential and a natural progression of this movement,” said Lewis. “To be able to equip people all over the country to foster a sense of comfort through their everyday interactions can lead many to get life-saving support.”

The Confess Project of America (TCPA) is a national organization that fosters mental health advocacy in the Black Barber and Beauty Industry by building awareness, breaking stigma, and increasing access to care within the communities they serve.

Through their 3,236 barber and beauty industry professionals trained across the country, they are reaching over 2.4 million people per year. They are currently in 53 cities and 30 states.

Their team brings over 40 years of collective experience in fields ranging from social work to behavioral health to therapy to help develop programs for those who have the greatest stake in the issue.

They aim to reach as many advocates as possible, they see their programs as part of a wider movement to solve mental health disparities in communities of color—now, and for generations to come.

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