Other organizations go a step further and help patients make therapy appointments. The non-profit Black Men Heal, for example, offers up to eight free online consultations. About 70 percent of clients choose to pay for additional sessions, said executive director Tasnim Sulaiman, a private practice psychotherapist in the Philadelphia area who founded the organization in 2018.
It can be difficult for people of color to find a therapist with a common cultural background. About 18 percent of people in the United States identify as Hispanic and 13 percent as Black, according to the Census Bureau, but a report by the American Psychological Association found that only 5 percent of psychologists are Hispanic and 4 percent are Black – 86 percent are white. Similar inequality exists among the country’s social workers and psychiatrists.
Eric Coly, who previously worked in finance, founded Ayana Therapy in 2020, about eight years after rock bottom with anxiety and depression.
At the time, he struggled to find a therapist who could understand the intersection of his different identities as blacks and immigrants from Senegal who had lived in different parts of the world.
“This product was almost meant to heal the way I used to be,” he said.
Ayana, which means “mirror” in Bengali, asks users to fill out a questionnaire designed to capture “your many nuances,” said Mr. Coly, then put you in touch with a culturally competent therapist. The cost of each online session is currently $ 60.
Providers are verified through a process that includes two interviews and reference reviews.
While Ayana was created for a variety of races and cultures, as well as for those who identify as LGBTQ, some websites cater to a more niche group of users such as LatinxTherapy, Therapy for Black Girls, Therapy for Black Men, the Asian Mental Health Collective and the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. Melanin and Mental Health has a directory of color therapists, many of whom are in Houston. The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, a nonprofit wellness organization that trains people to respond to mental crises, has an online directory of a wide variety of black practitioners, including therapists, yoga teachers, doulas, and mediators.
Employers are also increasingly recognizing the need for culturally competent providers. Indeed, Thumbtack, and Critical Mass, part of the Omnicom Group, recently partnered with Therify, which uses artificial intelligence technology to connect employees with vendors in their state. Half of Therify’s nearly 300 online therapists are People of Color and 20 percent specialize in serving clients who identify as LGBTQ, said the company’s CEO James Edward Murray, who interviews each provider.