‘Here to help’: Black Mental Health Professionals panel discusses representation in therapy

By: Jenna Wells Posted: Mar 3, 2023 4:10 PM CST

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — An important conversation about mental health took place Friday, surrounding the idea of representation in therapy.

Wellpoint Care Network in Milwaukee held their first-ever Black Mental Health Professionals Panel.

The panel featured eight black therapists and counselors, discussing how to improve diversity in the field, and help all communities.

“It’s not easy to find Black therapists. Even putting this panel together, it took a lot of research, it took more effort than it should have,” said Alex Williams, the director of community engagement at Wellpoint Care Network.

Only 4% of therapists in the United States are Black.

Friday’s discussion focused on how Black therapists can encourage healing within the community, by relating to the very people they’re trying to help.

“Folks that look like us maybe have went through some of the things we went through as well,” said Dr. Lakeia Jones, the owner of AMRI Counseling Services.

The panel put faces and names to Black therapists working in the Milwaukee area.

“We want to be able to normalize therapy in the Black community, but we have to first normalize the faces of that therapy in the Black community,” Williams said.

Through Friday’s panel, Wellpoint Care Network’s goal is to encourage open dialogue about mental healthcare in a space where it’s often stigmatized.

“As a part of the Black community, it’s saying we cannot hold on to this stuff anymore. It’s time to start working through that, and we’re here to help you do that,” Dr. Jones said.

“We have to continue to talk about it. We have to continue to destigmatize it,” Williams said.

The attendees hoped to send a message that more Black therapists can improve more Black lives.

“I’m hoping that more people will come out into the field. We need you,” Dr. Jones said.

Wellpoint Care Network plans to host another panel in July for Minority Mental Health Month.