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My interest in a career as a mental health therapist began in August 1993. I decided on a career in mental health at the tender age of 10. I grew up with a childhood friend from age 5 and witnessed her mental, physical and sexual abuse. It was then that I decided to become a therapist, specializing in trauma cases. I didn’t want any other career. I realized, first-hand how important it was for people that would need a listening, objective, empathetic, learned and compassionate ear; to re-balance, to heal and to grow.

I am motivated to continue on this career path every day by my 3 beautiful children, 1 girl, and two twin boys. They are now adults, marketable and well-adjusted even with my challenges for many years, as a single parent. I am also motivated to do my very best to represent a change in how society responds to the need for mental health support in our current culture, with emphasis in underprivileged communities. I am also an avid believer in the fact that you need to be the change you want to see. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that awareness is a tool that will help present change and financial support would allow this to happen.
Over the years, I have witnessed firsthand how behavioral health agencies have underserved or forgotten those most marginalized clients due to their socio-economic status, alone. I have also found there are people in these same communities being disproportionately incarcerated because of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed behavioral issues. These sub- standard responses to mental health care need actually escalate the individual’s challenges causing recitative incarceration, hatred, anger and even violence in these under-privileged communities.
Culturally, any type of mental health complications was foreseen to and in families as problematic and oftentimes the individual was sent away or “put” away due to shame and embarrassment. I have also witnessed so many people of color struggle with mental turmoil when assistance, proper diagnosis and support would make all the difference in the quality of life attainable. Many people in these same communities are also burdened with poor service due to limited or no medical insurance at all. I would be remiss if I did not add to this problem racial sensitivities that can also impede many from even seeking assistance and support for mental and behavior health issues. Those in the medical profession don’t always take the time to understand the culture or mindset of their clients dealing with mental challenges. This further impedes the chances of successful treatment and the enhancement of quality and independence of life.
The events and the exposure allow me to be more passionate about this situation because I can see where health care practitioners can actually make a difference with proper diagnosis and support to those most marginalized and suffering with mental health challenges. However, it takes strategies I have listed here along with substantial financial support to be effective in a way that will substantiate real change.
I want to help create a world where people understand the struggle culturally and environmentally of those mentally impacted. Bringing awareness to being institutionalized culturally could open up the possibility to many, for a normal life even with their diagnosis of being mentally or behaviorally challenged. I want people to see that even though people of color are not always physically incarcerated with these issues, there does exist, a mental incarceration that goes unnoticed and therefore, unsupported. I want to show that you don’t have to be a product of your close-minded environment but a solution! I want to find ways to redirect the challenged mindset from being institutionalized, to being free.

My passion is to help underprivileged communities and rebuild the mindset of people of color. Currently, with all that is going on in society with regard to the political and racial tensions, it is a perfect example of what society thinks of black and brown lives. Until we educate the masses on our culture and become more visible while instilling strength back into our communities, we will remain institutionalized mentally. If this continues to happen, ignoring the importance of mental health, and substandard care in this area of the medical profession, could render us an extinct voice in this country. We can learn our rights as a culture, take back our power from systemic medical injustices and truly eradicate the low prioritizing of mental health collectively.
My passion will continue to be driven until the day I leave this earth or until we are given the right to live free and walk the streets knowing our lives matter free and clear of the stigma associated with mental and behavioral diagnosis.
When I am not pursuing this endeavor, I enjoy reading, community service and being a part of my children’s lives and milestones in young adulthood.