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#9: "Go to Therapy" they said, but how can I find a good Therapist?



It’s a new day, a new era! Many of us are working hard to break the stigmas around mental/behavioral health! It’s #MentalHealthAwareness month. People are always quick to say “go to therapy”, but very few tell you how hard it is to actually find a decent therapist!


Some time last year, I had found myself in an unimaginable situation as it relates to my mental health. I, a girl who majored in psychology and studied psychoanalytic theories in college, had found myself in a sunken place. I was shook!


I couldn't seem to adjust to the different things that were breaking down/falling apart in my life. Between trying to navigate a chronic illness, changes in friendships and relationships, and putting up with the immense pressure and stress from my job... I just felt like I would explode. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I didn't. Instead I just had to live it all out.


So when did I know that the traditional self-care quotes I liked and shared on IG weren’t cutting it?


It was when getting out of bed became too much. It was when my heart would be beating at what felt like 100bpm. It was when I would have shortness of breath so bad that I thought I would die. But then again, I was struggling to live so…


When I finally could no longer bear it, I decided to walk the whole “mental health matters” talk and seek some actual help!


I did what everyone else would do - went to the googles and searched for “Black Therapists in Brooklyn”. A couple of ads came up and then some behavioral health facilities came up. I called about four different hotlines trying to get in to see someone. I had no success. When I finally came across the Therapy for Black Girls directory in my search I was super excited because it was like striking a gold mine! Here was this long list of mental health providers who were FOR US, BY US. As I clicked on a name, the first line of their bio would read “NOT accepting any new clients at this time” or “I Do NOT take insurance”. I sent inquiry emails and called their offices directly, all to no avail.


I started to get really frustrated because there’s just no way that gaining access to mental health services could be THIS hard! Especially for someone as privileged as I am. It immediately made me think of people who were less privileged than me who are in desperate need of help. How would they get seen, before it's too late? I already resented the heck out of our health care system, but this experience just made me resent it even more.


I loved the idea of Therapy for Black Girls (still do) but I didn’t find much success with it during my time of need back then. I didn’t give up though. I tried searching again and I came across Psychology Today’s directory. At first I thought it was some kind of fake ad, but after looking through I was able to find actual therapist listings. I liked the platform a lot because I could easily filter my search across many different domains such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, issue/diagnosis, faith/religion, insurance, etc. After narrowing down a few options I was able to schedule an intake appointment with my first ever Black female therapist! JACKPOT!


Now don’t get me wrong- finding a therapist was only the first step. But I’m so glad I never gave up on it. Since then I’ve been on a therapy journey (of trial and error) and now I find myself to be in a much better place. None of that would be possible if I gave up on the first, or second try. I’m glad I persisted because who knows what could have happened as a result of the dark season I found myself in. To be honest, I don't even want to know. I’m just glad I’m no longer there - and I’m here.



P.S. - Since writing this entry I revisited the TherapyForBlackGirls.com website and saw that they made some major improvements to their directory. It has a whole new look and feel and it looks like there is a lot more availability from the providers. I would highly recommend it! #SupportBlackBusinesses


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