Central Florida therapists see more Black people going to therapy — but it’s still not enough

‘Black males are still not coming as much, but they are coming,’ one therapist says

ORLANDO, Fla. – In Central Florida and across the country, a lot of people are coming forward seeking mental health counseling but at least two therapists we spoke with say Black men are still lagging behind when it comes to seeking mental health care and treatment.

“I always encourage people to find that therapist that you can connect with,” Tammy Austin said.

Austin is a trauma therapist who owns Journeys End Counseling and sees clients across Central Florida. She’s also a life coach with a nationwide reach.

She said following protests when George Floyd was killed, she’s seeing more Black people seek therapy, including Black men where she’s seen about a 40% increase. But, she said from a demographic standpoint, “Black males are still not coming as much, but they are coming.”

When asked why she believes black men aren’t coming to therapy as much, Austin said, “I think stigma, I think financial reasons and certainly accessibility.”

She said more virtual options has helped in making therapy more accessible.

[RELATED: How to get mental health help in Central Florida]

It’s also why she hopes her new book called “Living Beyond my Representative” based on real life experiences can also be an option for people trying to unpack trauma. Her book is like a copy therapy journal.

The National Alliance on Mental Health said Black people, particularly Black men, are often more reluctant to seek mental health treatment,citing things like socioeconomic disparities and inequity of care.

Plus, many Black men tend to want to go to a Black therapist, but recent data shows only about 5% of psychologists are Black, according to the American Psychological Association.

“When I talk to people who are receiving therapy, a lot of Black folks are like, ‘That’s not for me because I’m not rich and I’m not famous, and I’m not someone who can afford that kind of lifestyle,” Chantelle Doswell said.

Doswell is a licensed clinical social worker and also an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

She knows the challenges some Black people face.

“Once I find the therapist, once I call them up, will they respond, is it affordable, can I actually make it to the appointment? Those three things alone will stop a lot of Black folks from going to therapy, period,” Doswell said.

She admits in New York though, most of her new clients are men — particularly Black men — but she said the need for mental health care historically extends beyond Black men.

“Immigrant groups in this country probably need the most care regardless of their race,” Doswell said.

Here at News 6, we want you to know there is help out there. Here are some mental health resources, particularly for black men.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.