In addition to COVID-19, recent events have brought heightened attention to the specific stressors faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, who may be experiencing heightened fear, anger, and grief at this time.
The Black population utilizes mental health services at 24% compared to 40% among white people. This includes distrust in the healthcare system and inadequate quality of care due to cultural barriers between patients and healthcare providers.
Indianapolis has significant structural gaps in mental health resources, leading to serious disparities in access to appropriate care, specifically for BIPOC. These inequities are due to generational, systemic, and institutional racism. More than 14% of Indiana residents report experiencing chronic stress – of that group, 85% are BIPOC individuals.
Irvington Counseling Collective, Inc., is a small, nonprofit, sliding-scale private practice located in Indianapolis that has developed the BIPOC Mental Wellness Fund for Marion County Residents – intending to raise $42,500 by August of 2021. It will allow them to serve no less than 100 individual applicants and reimburse BIPOC consultants assisting in this initiative.
“As white therapists who have not been directly affected by systemic racism, we are committed to holding ourselves accountable and responsive to the needs of the Indianapolis BIPOC community, said Lauren Hall Bushman co-founder of Irvington Counseling Collective, Inc. “We invite interested organizations to join us in this effort to lift the burden of structural racism from the shoulders of BIPOC community members and to help us build a more transformative, sustainable, and culturally attuned mental wellness landscape in our city.”
Irvington Counseling Collective will not utilize any funds for administrative support purposes but will utilize volunteers from the community to aid us in our efforts. $2,500 will be earmarked each year of the fund’s existence, which will be utilized to reimburse BIPOC consultants supporting us in this initiative.
The funds raised will reimburse individuals for up to $400 worth of therapeutic support per calendar year. Funds will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
What is Culturally Responsive Therapeutic Support? Poor cultural alignment and institutional harm are often identified as major barriers to seeking mental health support for the BIPOC community. People heal within differing contexts, environments, and systems of support. The BIPOC Mental Wellness Fund for Marion County Residents will support applicants in maintaining mental wellness based on what each person feels is culturally attuned and beneficial.
- Funds are available for any mental wellness supporting practice, such as but not limited to
- Individual and/or group therapy rendered by a licensed clinician or community leader/specialist in their field.
- Spiritual renewal and engagement opportunities.
- Somatic and nature-based therapy processes.
- Community-based education or psychotherapeutic groups centered around areas of mental wellness.
- Art-based therapies such as dance, yoga, or writing workshops, and community art classes.
- Psychiatric consult, herbalist consult, psychiatric medication costs, mental health hospitalization, or treatment-related expenses within the past twelve months from date of application.
- Indigenous or culturally relevant mental health support as defined by individual and community significance.
How will it work? Any BIPOC resident seeking mental health services within Indianapolis will need to fill out an online application. Once it’s reviewed, the applicant will be notified of funding. The reimbursements will be made directly to the provider (funds will not be directly paid to the applicant). Applications will not be prioritized by the type of service an individual is seeking for support but rather on a first-come-first-served basis and as funding allows.
The Details: Applicants must identify what form of support they are seeking and where the funds should be directed, in sum or part, at the application time. For example, an applicant may choose to apply $200 to group psychotherapy with their chosen practitioner and the remaining $200 toward a community-based class at a local college. Irvington Counseling Collective, Inc. affiliated volunteers will arrange for direct reimbursements to the identified organizations on behalf of the applicant. Once selected, applicants will have 60 days to help ensure their funds have been appropriately distributed. Any funds not utilized within that time period will go to the next person on the waitlist.
To donate to the fund, visit charity.gofundme.com. For more information or questions about the fund, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.