When we started Therapy4thePeople in spring 2020, we were 3 co-founders and a Google spreadsheet. By the end of 2021, we had a team of 12 and our own website.
In the past 18 months, our directory of affordable mental health services has grown to over 600 listings. And we’ve published 15 blog posts guiding help-seekers on their mental health journeys.
As the founding Executive Director, I’m extremely proud of all the progress we’ve made. And I’m grateful. To our all-volunteer team for bringing their passion and talents to this work. And to our supporters (you!) for your feedback, encouragement, and donations.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the enormity of the work that is needed to resolve the mental health crisis we’re in.
Last month, the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis citing the dramatic increase in suicidality in adolescents over the past decade. The rates of suicidal behaviors are especially alarming among Black boys and Latina teens. Adults are also experiencing a mental health crisis, with significant increases in depressive and anxious symptoms during the pandemic. At the same time, Americans of all ages are struggling to access the care they need. Only 46% of adults with mental illness actually access mental healthcare, with even higher rates of unmet need among people of color. Today, mental healthcare is harder to find than other forms of healthcare.
In the face of these stats, you may feel discouraged about the possibility of ever improving access to mental healthcare in the US. At Therapy4thePeople, we’re feeling the opposite. There has never been more attention to mental health inequities. Advocates across the country are speaking up, and organizations like ours are getting to work.
Looking ahead in 2022, Therapy4thePeople will make a slight mission adjustment to emphasize depth rather than breadth. Our focus will be on six U.S. locations: Chicago, DC, Denver, Fayetteville (Arkansas), NYC, and Philly. As part of this pivot, we plan to do deeper work in and with the communities we aim to serve.
While our team brings clinical and research expertise, it’s important for us to collaborate rather than dictate as we work toward meaningful change. These are core values for our organization and we plan to live up to them.
We will build Therapy4thePeople together.
That’s the spirit behind Progress Notes. Each month, I’ll write about the work we’re doing and why we’re doing it. My goal is to keep you informed and involved as we grow in these early years. You are an essential part of our movement. With the size of the crisis in front of us, it will take an army of mental health advocates to overcome it.