Erica Reevey

Erica Reevey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Erica Reevey is a licensed clinical social worker and a co-founder of the Black Counseling and Consulting Collective, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting the advancement of Black mental health and quality of care. She also is CEO/Founder of Therapists Need Therapy 2, which offers counseling to licensed mental health professionals.  

On the biggest trends in mental health since COVID-19 and racial justice protests

Black women have been really digging in and understanding the work that we need to do on an individual basis. And then, I would even go as far as to say Black female therapists or social workers or anyone in the frontlines, it's been a heavy burden.

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The idea of carrying multiple hats and being involved in multiple systems and having to carry the weight of all of those systems with the pandemic and the racial injustice ... it's not new, it's just becoming more televised.

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A lot of black women who are therapists are struggling with holding their own space, because in one space they have to be the professional, but they're still struggling with identifying with a lot of their own clients. And so trying to figure out what that means to be a therapist who also has to actively have some of the same conversations with your own children and your own families and yourself that you're telling clients to have.

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There's not a lot of providers that are available, because right now, especially within the Black community, people are very heavy on wanting Black providers. But what happens is, because of other systematic issues, there's not enough, there's not enough of us to service all of the people that want the service because of other barriers that have been in place.

On the demand for mental health services since the pandemic began

The demand has honestly went up way more than what it was pre-pandemic. I would attribute that to time. People have had a lot of time to sit still. And the pandemic comes with a whole other range of mental health issues. People weren't even experiencing some of the things that they're experiencing now because they weren't isolated. They were getting social interactions. And we underestimate the importance of being around other people and what that does for our mental health.

On the Black Counseling and Consulting Collective

Our mission is to assist people of color, assist the community in breaking generational curses, assisting in dismantling racism, and working through the process of how mental health shows up in our day to day lives in people of color, and also working on a lot of those generational things that we don't talk about, we're not taught in school. And working with families to understand how their mental health really does impact their overall well being.

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This is a collaboration between the BCC and Therapists Need Therapy 2 to work on investing in up and coming therapists, help them with training, help them to navigate this space. Because a big part of the problem is finances. A lot of black providers are unable to afford the costs that come with maintaining your license or even just getting your license. The amount of money that it requires just to get your license is a barrier. And so that's another one of the things that we have set for our mission is to be able to invest in up and coming therapists.

On clients wanting therapists who are the same race

The benefit for a lot of people is not having to code switch, not having to go in and out of feeling like you have to code switch in order to meet the provider where we feel like they are. Because in reality it doesn't matter who you are. We should all be meeting our clients where they are, but that's not the world we live in. And so I think for a lot of people -- Black people -- the benefit is understanding: I know that I'm in a space with someone who I don't have to break down every single thing I'm talking about. And we can just get started with some work. We don't have to sit here and give a definition of everything – and instead we're using that space to actually start healing.

On the impact of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests

Because of how much it was televised and how much media attention it got, I think vicarious trauma started to become real for people, secondary trauma. And it wasn't just something that we saw on TV anymore, especially in Louisville, and then a lot of people going down to the protests and even breaking down how traumatic the response from the city initially was at the protests--that just adds trauma on top of trauma.

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We're in the middle of a pandemic, and we start really understanding what happened with Breonna Taylor, what happened with George Floyd. And then we started going back down and connecting that to all of the other Breonna Taylors and George Floyds.

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I think what has happened in the past is we've become so desensitized to the media, because we're just going and life is happening. But when you slow down, and you have a lot of time to really sit and process and think about things, you really start realizing how that impacts you. how that impacts your children, how they might impact your children's children and then it becomes like this weight that you feel like you have to get off.

Note: These are excerpts from an interview with WDRB News. Some have been edited for clarity and brevity.  

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