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30 Aug

WHYY Radio Times Addresses Mental Health in African American Communities

August 30, 2018 | WHYY Radio Times ran a program on Mental Health and Black Communities on Monday, August 27.  Marty Moss-Coane’s guests were Philadelphia psychiatrists Delane Casiano and Karriem Salaam, who are co-authors of the book, Mind Matters: A Resource Guide to Psychiatry for Black Communities and Howard Stevenson, professor of Urban Education, and Africana Studies, and former Chair of the Applied Psychology and Human Development Division in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. You can listen to the program by clicking here.

As the leader of a mental healthcare organization that serves communities of color, I am encouraged to see media coverage of this issue. I particularly appreciated the conversation, early in the program, about the importance of people feeling that their therapist can relate to them. Therapy is a place to feel heard and validated in your experience. Council for Relationships is committed to cultivating a diverse clinical staff to serve our diverse community. As such, several of our staff therapists are African American and have lived experience with the unique stigmas within the African American community. Staff Therapist Dr. George James has been a leader at Council for Relationships for years, and currently serves as Program Director of the Department of Couple and Family Therapy at Jefferson. He is joined by Staff Therapists Shadeen Francis, Dr. Stephanie Jacobs, Ryan McMillian, Dr. Charles Muorah, and Akilah Pierre, and we will be welcoming two new staff members, Allen Lewis and Darrell Carson, this fall. To learn more about our clinicians, who represent many backgrounds, you can visit this page.

On the other hand, we also see clients benefit from therapy with clinicians who are very different from them. I enjoy telling our supporters about seeing clients and therapists of varying backgrounds working and learning together every day at our office. In our 86 years of clinical experience serving Philadelphians, we have learned that people’s challenges and needs are more similar than they are different.

Another part of the discussion that resonated was about challenging the stigma of addressing mental health.  In this field, we can work to demystify “mental illness” by intentionally using terms like “mental well-being” and “mental wellness.” Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health enables more people to get the help they need. And at Council for Relationships, we believe that everyone can benefit from therapy at some point in their life.

Many thanks to WHYY and Radio Times for covering this important subject.

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