By: Alyssa Wilson
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and many organizations are using this time to fight stigma and provide support to those battling mental health conditions.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, in 2015, only 4% of psychologists in the United States workforce were Black, making the field less diverse than the country’s population as a whole. This lack of diversity has an impact on members of the Black community and their efforts to see a therapist.
Eric Coly founded Ayana Therapy after one of his friends had a difficult time finding a therapist she liked. “It inspired me to develop a concept that addresses cost, stigma and the health care system’s lack of cultural competency, which all hinder access to mental health services,” he said. “Finding a counselor, one feels comfortable opening up to people of color, queer or an intersection of both, is very difficult — and considerably more challenging for double or triple minorities.”
Interested participants must take a “detailed and culturally sensitive questionnaire” and get matched to a licensed counselor. The organization promises diversity, accessibility, cultural competency, anonymity, destigmatization and privacy with the experience. Ayana Therapy is also launching an app that will match marginalized communities with licensed therapists, compatible based on their unique experiences and identities across race, gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity and ability.
The organization’s blog includes guides to numerous mental health issues, including burnout, wellness at work, gratitude, random acts of kindness, nutrition and more. You can sign up to see a therapist in their network here.
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