“People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.”-Dorothy Day
Indianapolis has significant gaps in mental health resources, leading to serious disparities in access to appropriate care, especially for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community. The Mental Wellness Fund for BIPOC Community Members of Marion County has been created to lessen the gap.
A Step in the Right Direction: The Mental Wellness Fund for BIPOC Community Members of Marion County, Indiana. Funds will reimburse individuals for up to $400 worth of culturally appropriate therapeutic support per calendar year. Funds will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
How You Can Join in the Work: We will be raising $42,500 by August of 2021, which will allow us to serve no less than 100 individual applicants and reimburse BIPOC consultants assisting in this initiative. We need your contribution in order to do so.
Who will the fund serve? Funding will be open to any BIPOC community members residing in Marion County, Indiana.
What is Culturally Responsive Therapeutic Support? Poor cultural alignment is often identified as one of the major barriers to seeking mental health support for the BIPOC community. People heal within differing contexts, environments and systems of support. The Mental Wellness Fund for BIPOC Community Members will support applicants in their work toward maintaining mental wellness based on what each person feels is culturally appropriate and beneficial.
Funds are available for any mental health 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 arts 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? An application will be made available online for any BIPOC Marion County resident to complete. Once reviewed, the applicant will be notified via e-mail of their funding. Reimbursement 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: At time of application, applicants must have identified what form of support they are seeking and where the funds should be directed, in sum or in part. 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 then arrange for direct reimbursements to the identified organizations on behalf of the applicant. Once selected, applicants will have 60 days to use the funds made available to them, and any funds not utilized within that time period will go to the next person on the waitlist.
Building Community with Awareness and Accountability: Irvington Counseling Collective, Inc., is a small, nonprofit, sliding-scale private practice located in Indianapolis. As white therapists who have not been directly affected by systemic racism, we are committed to holding ourselves accountable to and responsive to the needs of the Indianapolis BIPOC community. 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 Indianapolis.
Irvington Counseling Collective, Inc. will not utilize any funds for purposes of administrative support, but will utilize volunteers from the community to aid us in our effort. $2,500 will be earmarked each year of the fund’s existence, which will be utilized for the reimbursement of BIPOC consultants supporting us in this initiative.
Please forward any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana specific disparities include, but are not limited to:Over 14% of Indiana residents report experiencing chronic stress. Of that group, 85% are BIPOC individuals. Almost 18% of Black and over 24% of Hispanic/Latinx adults say there was a time in the past 12 months when they needed to seek medical care but couldn’t because of costs, compared to 11% of white adults. The Black population utilizes mental health services at a rate of 24% compared to 40% among white people. Some reasons for this include things like distrust in the healthcare system and inadequate quality of care due to cultural barriers between patients and healthcare providers. Nationally, Black American’s are up to 5x’s more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than whites and are also more likely to be misdiagnosed for any psychiatric disorder Over 15% of Hispanic/Latinx and over 14% of Black youth reported attempting suicide one or more times in the last 12 months, as compared to white youth at just under 9%. 32% of the American Indian and 19% of multiracial individuals report symptoms of depression. Over 17% of Indiana children report high on the Adverse Childhood Experiences/trauma measure scale, which has been found to directly correlate to chronic and life threatening health conditions later in life. These social and environmental factors affect Hispanic/Latinx and Black children 10% more often than their white peers. Indiana ranks 30th in the nation on the Economic Hardship Index and 42nd in residential segregation. Poverty and segregation are known risk factors for development of ongoing mental health conditions.