With support from ReCAST, Places for People and the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health are beginning a conversation about mental health in the Promise Zone.


Places for People Executive Director Joe Yancey introduces the "It's About Hope: Reinforcing Resilience" series

Upcoming Trainings

To empower you to learn more about mental health, we are offering online training opportunities.

Pursuit of Happiness Program
Eight sessions (Aug. 5 – Sept. 23)

Would you like to feel happier?

We have a deep human longing to be happy—something the founders of the United States realized when they wrote into the Declaration of Independence that every person was entitled to the pursuit of happiness.

While we all want to be happy, life often takes its toll on our happiness and well-being. The happiness of Americans has been on a steady decline since the 1950s. Current conditions add even more stress to our lives, often making it harder to feel happy.

Fortunately, there are a number of skills and strategies that scientific research studies have shown can help people to feel significantly happier.

The Places for People St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health is offering a comprehensive program to enhance happiness and well-being. The program includes a number of skills, strategies, and practices that have been demonstrated in research studies to significantly improve happiness in studies with the general public.

The program will include eight one-hour interactive workshop sessions from 12:30-1:30 p.m. via Zoom.

On a voluntary basis, participants can also participate in an evaluation of the program. The optional evaluation will include checklists at the start of the program, after one month, and after two months to assess your voluntary use of strategies, your experiences and suggestions about the program, and your baseline and follow-up levels of happiness and well-being. You will be given a small gift card for completing the evaluation questions, and (if you wish) will be provided with information about your personal happiness scores.

Of course, there’s no guarantees this program will improve your personal happiness. Still, the fact that nearly all of the skills and strategies have been found in scientific research studies to significantly improve the happiness or well-being of people gives us hope that this program will be beneficial to some people who participate in these workshops.

For additional information, please contact Julie Blanco, LCSW, at jblanco@placesforpeople.org or Gary Morse, Ph.D., at gmorse@placesforpeople.org.

Thanks for your interest!

If you have a topic suggestion or would like to offer one of these trainings to your group or organization, please contact Julie Blanco at jblanco@placesforpeople.org.

Past Trainings

Thank you to everyone who attended these previous trainings

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness
Tuesday, May 19
Watch the recording of the training

Places for People and the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, with support from St. Louis ReCAST, offered this live training by Places for People Outpatient Clinic Program Manager Meagan Doty, LCSW, to help people recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness. This training provided an introduction to some of the most identified mental illnesses. The purpose of this training is provide insight into common mental health conditions, and provide insight into the experience of people living with mental illness so that we increase referrals to resources, reduce stigma and prevent traumatic encounters.

Mama said there’d be days like this…” (Parenting in today’s world)
Friday, May 29
Watch the recording of the training

Places for People Incredible Years Team Leader Kevin Wells, MSW, provided a live training to help parents and caregivers develop skills needed to support children during challenging times.

Identifying and Managing Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Gary Morse, Vice President of Research and Evaluation, discusses identifying stressors, and also strategies for managing stress in this video series, including a guided meditation in the third video.


With support from ReCAST, Places for People is committed to providing information to individuals and families living in the Promise Zone to help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.

Stigma builds shame and fear, and prevents individuals who need treatment from seeking it. Behavioral health disorders are illnesses of the brain, and should be treated no differently than illnesses experienced in other body parts. Recovery is real. Recovery is possible.

Emotional health and emotional well-being are absolutely essential to overall health.Joe Yancey, Places for People Executive Director

About St. Louis ReCAST

All St. Louis ReCAST community projects are decided on and awarded through a participatory budgeting process – meaning that the communities themselves are involved in making the decisions. Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which Promise Zone community members vote on how to spend the ReCAST funds.

St. Louis ReCAST’s goals are to:

  • Build a foundation to promote well-being, resiliency, and community healing;
  • Improve access to trauma-informed community behavioral health resources and youth peer support; and
  • Create community change using a community-based participatory approach.