PhD student Lily Chen Awarded National Council for Mental Wellbeing Grant

The UNC School of Nursing is proud to announce that Lily Chen, a second-year PhD student and Royster Fellow, has been selected as one of the four recipients of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) USA Doctoral Student Grants. This initiative, spearheaded by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, aims to expand research and evaluation efforts for MHFA programs across the United States.

The MHFA USA Doctoral Student Grants Program demonstrates the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s commitment to advancing the understanding of MHFA processes, outcomes, and impacts. Each year, four full-time doctoral students receive a one-time award of $5,000 to support their research endeavors. Lily Chen, under the guidance of Dr. Giscombe, is undertaking a study titled “The effectiveness of culturally adapted Mental Health First Aid training in a national sample of immigrant Chinese Americans.”

Chen’s research focuses on addressing a critical issue in mental health within the Asian American community, particularly among immigrant Chinese Americans. With suicide being the leading cause of death for Asian Americans aged 15-24, and Asian Americans being three times less likely to seek professional help than any other racial group, Chen’s project delves into an area of significant concern.

The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of culturally adapted MHFA training in a national sample of immigrant Chinese Americans. Leveraging a pre-test and post-test comparison group design, participants will be randomized into either a culturally adapted (translated Chinese curriculum) training group led by a Chinese-speaking MHFA instructor or an English-speaking training group led by an English-speaking instructor.

Chen’s work aligns with recent meta-analyses demonstrating that culturally adapted interventions are more effective than non-adapted interventions. The pilot study will assess mental health knowledge levels pre- and post-training on the training date, three months, and six months after the training for both groups.

For more information on Chen’s study, visit