People, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, may suffer from an undiagnosed mental illness. Mental health is a serious issue and needs to be addressed more often. Mental health matters just as much as physical health. Our mental muscle should be valued, trained, and exercised just as our physical muscles. The objective is to eliminate the notion “it is not ok to seek counseling or therapy because it makes one looks “crazy” or otherwise”. It takes tremendous gumption to allow yourself to become vulnerable and break out. Breaking Free aims to empower the African American community and aid in them discovering, seeking counseling or therapy makes you brave, strong, and courageous. Counseling and therapy enable an individual to reflect on the conflictions in their lives, share their narrative, and properly heal. The time to keep quiet is no more.
Mental health is not a main topic of discussion within the African American community leaving the community in great distress to several secrets, underlying pains, and regrets. There are many traditions and conversations viewed as “taboo” within the community such as sexual assault by a relative or family friend that is covered up, victims of domestic violence whether they are the witness or actual victim, policy brutality, or a person’s visible mental state. These all have lasting effects on the individual and can alter their mental state. The fear of being ridicule is significantly high which results in a lot of individuals to suffer in silence. Generationally, the African American community is bred to be people of strength, perseverance, and faith to overcome obstacles regardless of how detrimental the treatment may be. It is time the community become comfortable with being uncomfortable, ask the hard questions, get the facts and become self-sufficient to be the best “YOU” you can be.
The ABC'S of Breaking Free
Breaking Free believes the African American community is in dire need of additional supportive services to eliminate the barriers they encounter in effectively accessing quality mental health care. Through the work of Breaking Free, access to and use of the program services aim to enhance and improve an individual’s mental health outcome. Some of the services Breaking Free will provide are:
- Counseling: Breaking Free will provide our clients with therapeutic support. We offer in-house individual and family counseling. These counseling services broaden our therapeutic reach and help us ensure the mental health needs of our program participants and their families are being met.
- Case management: Breaking Free provides multi-level intervention for case management services to the African American community. These services include risk screenings, group education sessions, one-on-one counseling and support, and available resources within the community.
- Fitness and Wellness Center: To provide education on nutrition and physical fitness which heavily attributes to a healthy mental state.
- Social Work Services: Social Work is a professional and academic discipline which seeks to improve the quality of life and well-being of an individual, group, or community. Our Social Work team has several years of experience providing professional and knowledgeable services. Licensed Master Social Workers and bachelor’s level social workers within our program collaborate with all entities involved with the client in order to ensure the highest quality services are provided.
i. Risk Assessment
ii. Individual and/or Group Counseling
iv. Crisis Intervention
vi. Follow-up Support
vii. Focus Groups
viii. Referrals to Community Resources