A mental health crisis exists among Black communities. Many Black communities do not have access to culturally appropriate mental healthcare and are in need of services to address a disproportionate level of race-related trauma, grief, and loss. Furthermore, Black Americans encounter a complex and ineffective system of mental healthcare, ranging from lack of access to services due to the cost of care, stigma, misdiagnoses, and anti-Black racism in various pipeline systems. The lack of culturally appropriate care can be addressed by increasing the availability of Black mental health professionals. However, due to a lack of Black mentorship at the college level, potential Black mental health professionals choose other career paths.
Founded in 2019, the Black Mental Health Internship at Mills (BMHI) aims to address these disparities, ultimately creating accessible mental health services for Black communities by providing early intervention mentorship, education and training to Black students interested in a career in mental healthcare. The internship is designed to influence various ecological systems impacting Black communities' wellbeing.
Uniquely, this internship targets students prior to graduate school to:
Mills campus services have taken the form of biweekly Black Healing Circles and once-a-semester Black Wellness Workshops. Internship training takes place in biweekly internship cohort meetings that include trainings on various topics related to the field of Black mental healthcare (i.e., anti-racism practices in mental healthcare, history of anti-Blackness in behavioral healthcare, optional graduate programs for mental health professionals, education about student loan debt, etc).
The BMHI utilizes College affiliations to ensure ample space and community mental health training for the interns. College campuses offer a large population of students, faculty, and staff to serve. Lastly, the internship also encourages interns to become creative in delivering wellness services to the Black community on campus, apart from the typical westernized individual therapy models. For both years of the pilot internship, interns facilitated Black Healing Circles and Black Wellness Workshops to advance their leadership and facilitation skills while serving a large Black population in need of Black wellness services.
All workshops are facilitated by a Black wellness professional and created and organized by a BMH intern. Previous Black Wellness Workshops have included:
Students will devote three to five hours each week to Black mental health education, research, and programming efforts under the supervision of a Black licensed clinical social worker with Mills Counseling and Psychological Services.
The internship will include:
The BMHI application and interview process takes place in October of each academic year. For detailed application, deadline, and interview information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.