Over the last couple of months, there has been an uptick of people in need of mental health resources, especially in the Black community. The world has not seen a time even remotely close to what we are going through at this time. Between the loss of jobs, e-learning, quarantining, travel restrictions, frequent protest, social injustice, and the lack of essential products is enough to strain to make any ones head spin. Therefore, a large number of black and brown people are seeking mental health services more than before. Black mental health professionals can provide the resources and assistance needed for many people in the black community.
Catherina Malone, a black mental health professional divides her time between social work and social justice. She grew up on the Northside of Chicago and graduated from Northeastern Illinois University. Her previous experience includes working in in-patient utilization management, crisis counseling, and behavioral health management. Her shift came after witnessing a young black male who was in the midst of a mental health crisis and pleading to the on-line viewers that he wanted help from a person that he could relate to, someone that looked like him. As a mental health professional, she quickly realized there are not enough resources available for the black mental health professionals and their potential patients. She knew the black mental health professionals needed representation amongst the black community. Her goal was to assist the black mental health professionals with the resources and guidance needed to reach their desired clientele. This turn of events inspired her to create, the Black Mental Health Guide (BMHG) to create marketing and business opportunities for black mental health professionals. These uncertain times have led to a greater need for the community to seek and receive mental health services.
There are several misconceptions about mental health services that prevent people from taking steps toward getting the help or resources they need. The misconceptions include the therapist is “nosey”, people think they need to go if they are “crazy”, you just sitting on a couch, there is only one type of therapy, or starting a practice costs a lot of money. When seeking these types of services you want to find a professional with who you can make a connection, someone who will listen, has a specific area of expertise, and/or someone who looks like them.
Her main focus is to equip black mental health therapist with the tools needed to be successful. Catherina states most mental health practitioners do not take business courses during college therefore most don’t know what is actually needed to start a practice.
Her business knowledge allows her to provide her clients with a clear roadmap to help them serve the community, create ownership, and brand awareness. Catherina tells her clients that there is a low start-up cost for your mental health practice. It often includes a laptop, WiFi, LLC/PLC status, tax identification number, and HIPPA software. It is ok to start at home and build up your clientele before you move into a private office space, plus many of your expenses can be written off at tax time. The estimated amount of money needed to get started ranges from $500 to $1000.
This valuable and often overlooked profession is missing black representation around the country. One way to improve the number of black and brown folks in this profession starts at home. The 1st step is education and being more open to therapy and other professional resources. We need to be vulnerable, trust each other more, and encourage each other to get the resources we need. In many instances, children and/or adults are often told to keep everything inside and things will work out. Our family and friends are often used as a mental dumping ground, but we need to work with a trained professional to help us sort things out. Therefore, we need to normalize therapy like we normalize getting massages, pedicure, hair cuts, travel, and exercise. Just think of mental health services or therapy as another form of self-care.
For more information on her services contact Catherina Malone at https://linktr.ee/Blackmentalhealthguide and on IG @black.mental.health.guide