Through the Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Grady Hospital, we have a program called The Grady Nia Project. 'Nia' is a Kwanzaa term that stands for 'purpose.' The program is for low income African-American women who are in domestic violence relationships and have attempted suicide. These women may have been abused physically, sexually, or emotionally.
Oftentimes the abuse makes them feel badly about themselves, helpless and hopeless, and it often gets so bad that they feel that only way out of the situation is to try to kill themselves or to end their lives. So when the women come to the hospital, we meet with them, we begin to form a meaningful relationship with them, we evaluate them, learn about how they're doing, their psychological symptoms, their substance abuse problems, difficulties with coping. And we also learn about their strengths, and their resources, and their resilience -- what's good about them and how they cope effectively in life.
Then we offer them one of two group therapy programs. One is the support intervention where they come to a weekly support group, and with the other members of the group and the therapists, they talk about their lives, and they receive support and guidance.
The other is a psycho-educational program where we provide the women with education and information about suicide, domestic violence, effective strategies for coping, positive ways to build self-esteem, ways to enhance their social support networks, and ways to access more effectively resources in their environment. Through the psycho-educational program, women also have a chance to talk about what's going on in their lives, what's been stressful to them, and they engage in activities that help them learn their new skills. We found that the psycho-educational program has been linked with women having better self-esteem, being less depressed, less suicidal, and more able to get out of abusive relationships.