Prior to my work at CARE Counseling, I had the opportunity to be led by an influential psychologist who was passionate about teaching and serving the Black community in Minnesota. He would often share stories about his experiences, and I had a front seat to learning about Black history.
It wasn’t just in February when I’d get a “history lesson”, this was interwoven throughout the year. Listening and learning from Black Americans who have lived history and whose ancestors have lived history is such a humbling experience; Black history is American history.
Sharing one’s story is such a powerful part of healing from a painful past. It does not change the past, ignore the past, or minimize the past but is integrated as part of one’s experience while living in the present and hoping for the future. Black Americans have incredible stories of pain, struggle, joys, and triumph. It is important to create safe spaces. Having more options to work with providers of color can increase access to mental health treatment and create more opportunities to build trust and process topics such as racial trauma.
Oftentimes, there can be a tendency to want to move forward without acknowledging the truths from the past. Slavery, discrimination, racism, systemic racism…these can be uncomfortable and painful topics to talk about. In addition to courageous conversations, there is also a call to action—social responsibility and accountability through restorative practices.
Working in schools where the student population was 90%+ BIPOC, with at least 60% of students identifying as Black, I saw first-hand the need for more mental health professionals of color. I am truly grateful for the families that trusted me to work with their children in school, at home, and within the community.
- In Minnesota, 95% of mental health professionals are white; just over 2% are Black.
At CARE Counseling, we are serious about advancing social justice in mental health and are taking action! One of the initiatives that I am excited to share is CARE More MN. 100% of the proceeds goes directly towards funding the cost of books for BIPOC students in master and doctoral programs who are pursuing careers in therapy.
To learn more, please visit https://www.caremoremn.com/
Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
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