- Acknowledging and celebrating the often under-appreciated history of significant contributions made by African American people to our country and world is an important practice during every month of the year, but each February there are curated and intentional ways of doing so.
- While the field of mental health attempts to serve all people with dignity and equality, racism still plays a role in how care is developed, accessed, and utilized.
- Our clinic is dedicated to nurturing an anti-racist and trauma informed environment for clients of all racial backgrounds and experiences.
Each year since 1976, the US government has deemed February to be Black History month. Acknowledging and celebrating the often under-appreciated history of significant contributions made by African American people to our country and world is an important practice during every month of the year, but each February there are curated and intentional ways of doing so. To learn about the different ways to deepen your learning around Black History month, please visit the official website by navigating to this link.
To celebrate Black History month at Start My Wellness, we would like to uplift some history of Black excellence in the Social Work and mental health field and raise awareness of mental health issues that are specific to the African American community:
Dr. Dorothy Height – Dr. Dorothy Height was also known as the “godmother of civil rights” because of her strident efforts to center the needs of Black Women in the fight for civil rights. Dr. Height was president of the National Council for Negro Women for 40 years, and was a leader in working towards school desegregation, equal opportunity in the workplace, and voting access and rights for all. Dr. Height completed post-graduate studies at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work.
Whitney M. Young Jr – Mr. Young Jr. studied Social Work at the University of Minnesota, after serving in the United States army and earning an Engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1969-1971 and is credited with calling on Social Workers to become more attuned to the overlap between Social Welfare and Healthcare systems. In addition, Mr. Young received the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B Johnson for his leadership in the civil rights movement.
To learn more about other African American contributors to the mental health field, you can visit these websites: https://academicinfluence.com/rankings/people/black-scholars/social-workers; https://www.nasw-pa.org/page/192/Black-History-Month—Influential-Social-Workers.htm.
Author: Rachel Levy, LLMSW
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*This blog was created with the help of Rayven Giles and Nosa Obaseki
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