Georgia therapists work to make mental health care more accessible

We are at Ellie Mental Health in Decatur. It is a franchise that has new locations in the Atlanta area.
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 4:28 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - We are at Ellie Mental Health in Decatur. It is a franchise that has new locations in the Atlanta area.

”This is truly my calling,” said Mareba Lewis, MS, LPC, CPCS.

”That is what we do, we help people heal,” said Ciara Green, MS, LPC, CPCS.

I am speaking with two licensed therapists, speaking from their own experience, working to make therapy more accessible to everyone, including people in the black community.

”Historically we have not had the same access. And when we do get help, we are known as the strong group, right? So we are not diagnosed properly if at all so we are told pretty much, suck it up, you got it. pray yourself through it and that is what we have done for so long,” said Lewis.

”Some people view mental health symptoms as a personal weakness,” said Green. ”Some people may think it is unattainable for them because it is unaffordable but it actually can be affordable. There are insurance agencies that can help and do like sliding scale based on income and there are even some places that offer free services as well.”

Organizations like Mental Health America have pages dedicated to the black community and mental health care. They say, “The historically Black and African American experience in America has and continues to be characterized by trauma and violence more often than for their White counterparts and impacts the emotional and mental health of both youth and adults.”

NAMI says, “According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than White adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness and feeling like everything is an effort. Despite the needs, only one in three Black adults with mental illness receive treatment.”

Change can start with representation.

“I have to start with what I can and that is me, that is why I am doing this interview and I am happy you reached out because I want people to know that people who look like me are available,” said Lewis.

Change can start with a call.

“Reaching out, that takes a strong person,” said Lewis.