Push for More Black Therapists: “It’s easier to seek help when the people look like you”
Mental illness effects every gender, age and race.
And, it’s been proven that individuals are more likely to seek out help from someone that looks like them.
Yet only four percent of therapists in the United States are African American. Of that four percent, only one percent are black males.
“If I’m honest, that stat used to scare me because it felt like pressure,” said Cedric Dale Hoard, licensed professional therapist at Christian Life Counseling. “But I’ve realized that it’s so important to be in the one percent. Think about all the work that you can do within that one percent.”
Hoard says he hopes that number can grow in the future, especially since over half of adults with a mental illness never seek treatment.
“As black people, we tend to not talk about what we feel,” said Dr. Lakeia Jones, CEO of AMRI Counseling Services. “Then it comes out in anger, hurt, frustration. That’s what people see, and you are labeled as crazy.”
Hoard and Jones joined six other therapists from the Milwaukee area at Wellpoint Care Networks 1st Black Mental Health Professionals Panel, which served as a call to action to young people looking to join the mental health profession.
“It’s important to look like the community because it lets them know that you get it,” said Laprece Armour, a therapist at Wellpoint Care Network. “You never know exactly what their experience is because black people are multi-faceted; we’re not all just one way. But we can empathize in a way because we all live in America. And, we know how oppression has impacted our generation.”
“The way we each approach people is completely different,” added Hoard. “That’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to be boxed in. It doesn’t have to look a certain way. You can use your personality, not just book knowledge.”
His advice for young black professionals: “You are needed. Your uniqueness. Your passion.”
For pictures from the event, click here.
To learn about the Mental Health Services at Wellpoint Care, click here.
To join our team of therapists, click here.