As mental health professionals, one of the ways we serve is to ask questions and sit with the discomfort of those answers. Our commitment to deep thinking has required that we take time to reflect on the inherent bias in our society and the ways the mental health profession is implicated in these imbalances, of which, even our predominantly white practice is a reflection.
But thoughts alone are not a sufficient response.
We need to back words with actions. It is not enough to imagine a future. We must demonstrate one, and work concretely towards it. It is with this consideration, that we have decided to launch three initiatives that aim to restructure racial disadvantages at the level of the individual.
We know that white allyship is tricky. And while we cant correct a whole racist structure with three programs, they are our humble and considered approach to ongoing change.
To address gatekeeping in higher education and lack of diversity in the field of psychology, WTG is creating a mentorship program to support BIPOC college students.
Institutionalized racism in education and mental health has resulted in the majority of psychologists being white. This is a central problem in our fields inability to provide truly equal and tailored treatment to all clients. By building these relationships, we strive to understand the needs of BIPOC students and create opportunities as they become colleagues and leaders in our field.
We will offer two pro bono placements in the Program, WTGs addictions-focused outpatient treatment.
Many facets of systemic racism restrict BIPOCs access to quality substance abuse treatment. We hope to provide access for people who have the most difficulty getting support, and to call attention to the disproportionate impact of mental illness and addiction in disadvantaged communities.
We will be partnering with Friends of the Children to provide pro bono therapy for at least 10 children and their caregivers from kindergarten through high school.
Friends of the Children is a mentorship program for children at risk, including personal and systemic obstacles. Through this partnership, we hope to provide supportive relationships, education, guidance, and access to treatment, which are critical factors in helping children and their families build resilience, health, and empowerment.
Dismantling an old system and building toward a just and equal society is a long game. It requires the endurance of our beliefs. It requires that we keep showing up. WTG will continue to serve people in the ways we can and keep having the difficult conversations because we can all do better. We must.
Let this moment be more than just that.