But will they get me though??: 12 Black Therapists Normalizing Mental Health in Their Communities.

"Because of my community...." You can ask any Black therapist what their reason for entering the field is and each of them will have a different answer, but the same narrative: Wanting to help our community.


With May being Mental Health Awareness month it is important to highlight mental health within the African American community. As well as the Black therapists actively working to change the narrative surrounding Black Mental health.


Misinformation, intersectionality, the lack of access to resources, negative stigmas, systemic racism, and socioeconomic disparities are just a few reasons why the Black community is so reluctant to treatment. Although mental health is becoming less of a taboo, there is still a negative stigma within the community. Simply put, African Americans are less likely to seek help for mental health issues than their white peers, and this needs to change.


Change can be difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, but the outcome can be beautiful. Some people don't seek treatment because they have this notion of: "a therapist won't understand me" or " they won't get where I'm coming from." or "how can "they" help me process through the black experience if "they" never lived it." Well, I want you to know there are Black therapists that are in this field just for you, who get you, who want to help you thrive.


Here are 12 Black Therapists Normalizing Mental Health in Their Communities.

Ra'Ven Sanders, LMHC-LP

3 years in the field


Instagram: @therapywithraven

Website: therapywithraven.org

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?

When it comes to Mental Health in the African American community there are a lot of misconceptions, . What we have to deal with and see on a day to day is not normal. When you find yourself self-medicating that's a sign that you need to seek help, and seeking treatment doesn't make you weak. Our families don't have to be centered around tough love. Our community as a whole need to embrace the soft life.

What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

Generational trauma is one of the main reasons why African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment. The fear of being labeled, and mistrust in the medical field as a whole. Oh, and you can't forget the whole what happens in this house stays in this house dysphoria. This is a common theme that has been passed down between generations. Generational trauma then becomes generational habit.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


Growing up I saw so many people in my life struggle with their mental health. Most of them did not seek treatment because of the negative stigma associated with it, as well as not wanting to be talked about. Others simply weren't educated on the topic. When you're young you don't really know or understand what's going on. Reflecting back now as an adult I understand that t's not normal to see your friends or families' life cut short because of their internal struggles. It wasn't until I started understanding my own mental health that I gained the understanding of it's okay to seek help. I guess you can say when I first got into the field I wanted to be that bridge for the community. The bridge that connects psycho-education and the Black community.


Nicole Lewis, LCSW, LICSW

8yrs in the field

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/legacywellness_

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeRemedyy

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?*

"It is our responsibility to take care of our own mental health as adults. However, it is a community's responsibility to takecare of our children's mental health. When one of us begins to heal those around us will heal too. Our children need us to be healthy so we can raise them to be healthy adults."


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?*

"African Americans are reluctant to seek help due to medical trauma and stigma regarding mental health. We don't want to appear "crazy" but there is so much strength in asking for help."

Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?

I am dedicated to serving my community because I wanted to be a voice for those who could not speak up for themselves. I keep going because I am my sister's and brother's keeper. If one of us is having a hard time then we are all having a hardtime. Lifting each other up is contagious.


Jared Morgan, LCSW

As a therapist: almost four years in the field

Instagram: @jmo0615

Twitter: @jmo061587 and br_therapy

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


Mental Health is like the gym but for our brains. You may not always need a therapist (personal trainer) but it's important that you do gain some tools from them. Especially for intense feelings and emotions, you may not know how to handle yourself. There is no shame in wanting to be mentally healthy. No one is "crazy" but situations are crazy and it's crazy for us to think therapy is crazy.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

Stigma and believing that Jesus and prayers can fix your mental health. Even religion requires us to put effort into improving our situation.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


I've been in therapy since I was 12. I have stayed with the same therapist because he is a black male who I've looked up to. I originally become a social worker to do clinical practice. It was the pandemic that pulled me from full-time policy work to become a full-time clinician. The pandemic left me feeling a certain way because of the sudden changes, the fear of the unknown and spending a lot of time with myself. I had the tools and was still seeing my therapist. But I couldn't stop thinking about all the people of color, particularly black folks who had no one. I felt like the policy work I was doing was not as effective so I switched.


Terrence Stewart Psychotherapist

10 Years in the field


instagram:@terrencethetherapist

Tik Tok @terrencethetherapist

Twitter @T_Thetherapist

Youtube Terrence The Therapist

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


It's okay to seek help! Therapy can be a gateway to a new perspective in your life.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

There is still a stigma and mistrust in the community. Historically, there is evidence of American American bodies being invaluable in the medical field. This is why we need to continue to normalize treatment while healing from our generational curses.

Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


I've struggled with my own mental health issues and never thought of therapy as being an option. My WHY is knowing that there are people out there like me and suffering in silence and to inspire those people to seek help. I firmly believe that there is a missing voice in the mental health field and I am that voice.


Shanequa Perry, LSW

7 Years in the field, 1 year in Therapy


Instagram: @in.skinship


What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


Don’t be afraid to talk to someone! We’ve been bogged down as a race/community with the stigmas about mental health for so long that we’ve accumulated so much generational trauma and become stifled in our healing process. It’s ok to talk, in a safe space, with someone.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

Stigma. Embarrassment. Uncertainty. Trust. Which are all valid reasonings.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?

The first black social worker I came into contact with during my senior year of high school. She was the first caring, supportive adult in my life that really impacted me and made me want to get into this field.




Maricus Walker, NCC, PLPC

2+ years in the mental health field


Instagram:@respectthename_

Facebook: Maricus Walker

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?



Do not rob yourself of mental health treatment. Mental health treatment is becoming more and more common now and we want that to continue. Going to therapy or receiving medications does label you. Set your own standards & make your own labels. My job is to give you the tools to thrive in life, not to fail.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

There’s still this “stigma” that receiving mental health treatment makes you “weak” or you’re viewed as “crazy” & in the AA community, our image is so important to us. So I think differentiating the importance between image & actual, necessary help is very crucial to our community.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


My why is growing up, I had a grandmother with mental illness. She was exposed to physical, sexual, and emotional trauma & it played a pivotal role in her adult life & witnessing her become misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, on the wrong medications, & having to be in and out of mental hospitals made me want to advocate for people like her. The mind is such a beautiful treasure & I wanted to study behaviors as a small child.



Joyce Miles Jacquote, M.S., LMFT

Supervisor, LCDC

8 in the field

Instagram: www.instagram.com/overcomingmiles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/overcomingmiles

Facebookwww.facebook.com/overcomingmilescounselingpllc/


What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


The message I want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health is that having mental health concerns is not a weakness or something to be ashamed of; it is apart of being human.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?


I believe the main reason that African Americans are reluctant to seek mental health treatment is because historically it has been seen as a weakness to do so. I believe that the African American community has been expected to be strong no matter what and any hint of weakness has been discouraged. Yet, needing mental health treatment is not a weakness, it is a way to strengthen oneself.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


My why has changed from when I first got into the field. Initially, my why was I wanted to help others to be the best that they can be. Cliche, I know. Over time, my why has evolved to helping the communities that I belong to become mentally and emotionally healthier. It is part of my legacy to the communities that I belong to.


Tamika Morris, MFT

10 Years in the field

Twitter:@morris_therapy,

tiktok:@morristherapy,

Pinterest @morristherapy,

LinkedIn: Morris therapy and consulting, YouTube: Morris Therapy and Consulting

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


It is normal to go to therapy. It is nice to sort your life out with someone you don’t know because there’s no conflict, there’s no judgment and the therapist will not make you feel guilty for how you feel for what you decide. It is okay to seek help outside the church and outside of friends. It works out well because it takes pressure off the church and your friends when they are not overly invested in your life. This allows friends, family, and your faith community to stay in the roles that best serve you. Therapy is a tool that helps you emotionally detox your life, apply structure, help you find your voice and use it, and it provides balance which helps you heal.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?


Because the black community suffers from Trauma. When experiencing trauma rather you realize it or not, it blocks your ability to trust others and it diminishes your self-esteem. This also blocks your ability to trust yourself. When you feel you can't trust your instinct it impacts your judgment and the clarity needed to have a healthy lifestyle. The black community is catching up to health and in time will understand that mental health is vital and is indeed health.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s yours why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


My why is simply to help. I recognize I am my best when I am of service to others and when I have the opportunity to seen positive outcomes. I worked in education prior to working in mental health. I felt for the students and wanted to make a positive impact on my students. Little did I know that the greatest impact I could make was investing in teaching the students and their families tools to improve their lives. What motivates me to continue in the mental health field is simple, I enjoy connecting with others and being apart of their growth. I don’t feel like I’m working which is refreshing. Everyday I’m excited to go to work. My driving force is knowing I’m walking in my purpose and doing my part to make a ripple in the pond.


Kiera McClellan LMSW

7 Years in the field



Instagram: @Kiera.Elice

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


Let the negative stigma go that surrounds the idea of therapy. Think of therapy as a way to help you through self-discovery, process and heal from trauma, learn communication skills to better your relationships with your loved ones, and most importantly increase your levels of self-love, esteem, worth, & autonomy ❤️

What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

The negative stigma is that if it is suggested to you that you seek therapy, it’s automatically assumed someone is saying you're “crazy” but let me tell you we’re are all a little off in some way, shape, or form. Therapy is not JUST for crazy people. Therapy is for when you want to be a better version of who you are already. It's for when you want to express yourself open and honestly without bias. It's for when you need support for when life starts to feel like “no one understands” It's for help be held accountable, increasing motivation levels, and overall growth.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


My why is my parents & family dynamics. Growing up I could see the disconnect & toxicity that was my parents relationship. I saw how it impacted my mom, being hurt, & I experienced the pain that one inflicts when they themselves are in pain. I’d always tell my mom to get help but she always thought I was being “disrespectful”. Eventually, I went to college & decided to figure out what was going on with my mom since she wouldn’t. I learned all types of things about mental health & trauma & its long-term effects it has on people when they go without healing. I got therapy myself & I decided I wanted to help other families avoid what I experienced as a kid. Eventually, my mom got therapy as well & from how close we are today you could never even tell we had so many issues when I was younger. My why for continuing the work is because I have seen what it looks like to be on both sides of broken & coming out on top is my motivation enough. I also work as a therapist right now & seeing my clients make progress from week to week adds to my drive to keep going.



Octavia Phoenix, MHC-I


1 Year in the field

Instagram: Octavia_phoenixx


What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?

Mental health is real and there is nothing wrong with seeking help for it.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?

There are a lot of reasons but one is access to affordable and quality services

Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


Why? To bring mental health awareness to my community, to bring representation to this field for my community, to be an advocate, to be a support system for those who may not have one. What keeps me going is seeing the progress my clients make and knowing I was able to help them in that journey.


Oluwatosin Akintan, M.Ed., LPC

5 Years in the field


Instagram: @becomingdrtos IG

Twitter: becomingdrtos

Private Practice IG: @newdefinitionscounseling

Twitter: @_newdefinitions

Website: www.newdefinitionscounseling.com



What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


We don't need to get permission to take up space. Often times the world we live in can make us forget our own autonomy, we are told over and over again we aren't right. We don't sound right, we don't talk right, and we are picked apart no matter who we are. The world is filled with so many checkboxes and it is overwhelming feeling like you can't take u space in your own way. What I've learned in life is that things always go on and so I choose to take up space in my own unique way knowing that eventually, everyone will get over it. Life is too long to live it the way we always have and we owe it to ourselves to center our needs. Our communities will be the better the more people feel supported in all the ways they need. Taking up space looks like taking better care of ourselves, it looks like going to the doctor, seeing a therapist, eating better, and doing things that bring you fulfillment we are deserving of assistance and the imaginary badge of honor forgoing through hardship alone has lost its allure. Taking up space is choosing who we want to be around, choosing what and who pours into us, and not apologizing for it.

What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?


Help has always been out of reach for Black people, for a variety of reasons we have never been seen as needing or being deserving of care. When people tell you something long enough and nothing around you disproves it that becomes your reality. The mindset that Black people are resistant or reluctant to seek help ignores that Black people have learned from experience that our voices don't matter. We have learned to suffer in silence and do what is needed, and watching the same people who cause you harm say they can help does not inspire confidence in us. I believe that Black people are now able to see their faces reflected the help they so deserve and are moving towards a more trusting relationship with healthcare providers.

Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


I am being who I needed growing up. It sounds so cliche but it's my truth, I'm being who I really needed as a child. After a traumatic childhood incident, I did my best to function until I ran out of fume, and right on time, someone said the right thing on the right day and my world has been changed since. I hope to be that for at least one person, to care enough to pay attention and notice someone's pain. To see them and let them know they are not disposable, to make sure that people feel heard, seen, and met with unconditional regard because that is what we all deserve.


Olivia Dallemand, M.S. Ed, MHC-LP

Years in the field 8


Instagram: @therapywithliv

What is a message that you want to send to the African American Community surrounding mental health?


Therapy is a form of self-care. Therapy is not a sign of weakness. Understanding who you are through conversation is beneficial for your growth and development as an individual.


What do you believe is the main reason African Americans are reluctant to seek treatment?


I believe that vulnerability is seen as a weakness instead of a strength. Treatment becomes a secret journey instead of a healing tool we all can benefit from.


Everyone has a why. Of why they got into the field. What’s your why? What’s keeping you going? What is your driving force?


I want to make children feel seen and adults feel understood. I want to provide a safe space where my clients can remove their masks, and their defense mechanisms and gain new perspectives

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