Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) Research

MHF Research and Grants

International Capacity Building works hard to ensure the MHF program meets the needs of communities it serves. With help from dedicated partners, staff, and researchers, we are proud to foster the continual search for new insights on the impact and effectiveness of the MHF program.

Concept Research

Concept Researcher Profile

J. Scott Hinkle, Ph.D., NCC, CCMHC | NBCC and Affiliates
MHF Program

J. Scott Hinkle researched and co-developed the Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program to help address the care-need gap in global mental health.

Dr. Hinkle authored the concept paper that explains the foundation of the MHF program and its mission to increase sustainable community mental health care access, and he co-authored the Malawi, Africa, outcome research article. You can access both articles online in The Professional Counselor or on the Resources page of the MHF website.

Outcome Research

Outcome Researcher
Wendi K. Schweiger, PhD, NCC, LPC | NBCC and Affiliates

Wendi Schweiger, Director of International Capacity Building, oversees and administrates NBCC’s institutes program, some of which include opportunities for participants to become involved in the MHF program.

In Dr. Schweiger’s time with International Capacity Building, she has co-authored several MHF-related articles, including discussion on how the MHF program meets global mental health needs, implementation of the MHF program in Malawi’s school system, effects of the MHF program in rural Uganda, and MHF program efficacy in its Mexico partnership.

Outcome Researcher and International Capacity Building Research Grant Recipient
Melissa Luke, PhD, NCC, ACS, LMHC | Syracuse University

Melissa Luke is associate professor and coordinator of school counseling at Syracuse University. Her research interests include school counselor preparation, supervision, and professional identity development.

Dr. Luke’s work is motivated by a desire to expand and improve counseling services for underserved populations, including counseling in a global context.

With grant support provided by the NBCC Foundation, Dr. Luke has conducted research with colleagues.


  • International Capacity Building research team collected data on MHF program effectiveness from several schools in Malawi under the direction of Dr. Luke.
  • The final publication can be found here.


  • International Capacity Building research team collected data on MHF program effectiveness in Mexico City under the direction of Dr. Luke.
  • Dr. Luke co-authored Mexico’s research article.

Outcome Researchers
Laura Shannonhouse, PhD, NCC, LPC | Georgia State University
Melissa Zeligman, PhD, NCC, LPC | Georgia State University

Laura Shannonhouse is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Georgia State University. Dr. Shannonhouse’s involvement with the MHF program extends beyond research as she is also an MHF master trainer candidate.

Dr. Shannonhouse’s primary interests include culture-centered clinical outreach with disaster impacted populations, beginning counselors’ cognitive emotional developmental style, and suicide intervention in the K–12 school system.

Melissa Zeligman is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Georgia State University.

Dr. Zeligman specializes in work with individuals who are chronically ill, those living with HIV/AIDS, and trauma.

Dr. Shannonhouse and Dr. Zeligman analyzed International Capacity Building's collected data from Mexico City to qualitatively assess the MHF program’s effectiveness based on participants’ interview responses.

Outcome Researcher
Global Livingston Institute, MHF Partner

The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Colorado. They focus on a variety of educational and sustainability efforts in East Africa, including the use of the MHF program within the local communities and creating jobs at the GLI-built Entusi Resort and Retreat Center.

In collaboration with International Capacity Building and with the grant supported by the NBCC Foundation, GLI published an article in the Journal of Psychology in Africa detailing the impact of the MHF program in rural Uganda.

Article Authors:

Dr. Jamie Van Leeuwen is the founder and CEO of the GLI. Dr. Van Leeuwen has been working within Eastern Africa for more than a decade to further develop partnerships with the public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in Uganda.

Ms. Sara Adkins holds a master’s degree in public health with a focus in global health and health disparities. With a particular professional interest in race, gender, and sexual health and justice, Ms. Adkins currently works as a medical case manager for the Cascade AIDS Project in Portland, Oregon.

Ms. Tavia Mirassou-Wolf is a public health professional who focuses on increasing health equity among diverse populations. With experience on international projects in both Southeast Asia and Africa, Ms. Mirassou-Wolf currently works with Sustainable Schools International, an NGO focused on increasing educational opportunities for rural Cambodian youths.

Mr. Ryan Grundy is the executive director of GLI and oversees all the organization’s programming initiatives in both Colorado and East Africa.

Citation can be found here.

Outside Grants

Outside Grant Recipient

Atsuko Seto, PhD, NCC, ACS, LPC | The College of New Jersey
Elizabeth Fier, MA, NCC, ACS, LPC | SEED Services: Partners for Counseling & Wellness, TCNJ Alumna
Rebecca Vazquez, MA, NCC, LAC | Doctoral Student at Regent University, TCNJ Alumna

Atsuko Seto is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Counselor Education at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Dr. Seto assisted the Japanese Telecounseling Association (JTA) in implementing the 30-hour MHF program as part of JTA’s efforts to increase mental health service capacity in the Tohoku region, which was significantly affected by the catastrophic 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown.

Beth Fier is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She works primarily from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and compassion focused therapy (CFT) perspectives. Ms. Fier cofacilitated the MHF training with Dr. Seto provided by International Capacity Building in partnership with JTA.

Rebecca Vazquez is a third-year doctoral student studying counselor education and supervision at Regent University, in Virginia Beach. Her involvement with the MHF program came about through her selection as an NBCC Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) fellow. As a new MHF master trainer, Ms. Vazquez looks forward to providing this training to communities both domestically and abroad.

Dr. Seto, Ms. Fier and Ms. Vazquez are all MHF program master trainers. They obtained a TCNJ School of Education mini-grant to provide the MHF-ASAP! training on TCNJ campus and in surrounding communities. The main purpose of this grant project is to raise public awareness of the importance of mental health in maintaining a person’s overall health by educating individuals and communities in the basics of mental health and helping skills.

Outside Grant Recipient
Lindsey Nichols, PhD, NCC, LCPC | University of Montana
MHF-Educator’s Edition

Lindsey Nichols currently serves as assistant professor of counselor education at the University of Montana. Her chief research interests include understanding cultural perspectives, knowledge, and approaches to positive mental health support.

Inspired by her parents’ work as teachers and her own experiences in the field of education, Dr. Nichols explores pathways to empower educators and increase school community connectedness.

Her current research with the MHF-Educator’s Edition curriculum focuses on how teachers explore these concepts and their effects on student academic and behavioral outcomes.