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Spotlight Interview

Guest Contributor:

Dr. Mekel Harris, Ph.D., NCSP, PMH-C

Licensed pediatric and family health psychologist/health service provider (HSP)

CEO of Harris Psychological Services, LLC

What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?

Holistic empowerment of body, mind, and spirit within the Black community.

How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?

1:1 service with clients, organizational engagement + presentation

What are some upcoming events you are leading, that promote mental health and wellness, that you would like for our Black Mental Wellness audience to know about?

Recent mini-course, "The Grief Anatomy Toolkit" + upcoming presentations with local organizations and churches, focused on Black mental wellness amidst COVID-19.

Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?

Ph.D. in Clinical/School Psychology; Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), Certified Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner (PMH-C); trained pre- and post-doctorally at Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Specialty area = grief and loss, clinician self-care + organizational/individual wellness

What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?

Mental health professional + church volunteer re: mental health + volunteerism through The Emotional PPE Project

What are some things that we should know about your area of expertise?

Grief and loss is universal, as well as disproportionately impactful within the Black community

How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?

Ongoing education to reduce mental health stigma; continuing to elevate Black mental health professionals' voices within the community

What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?

Education + vulnerable conversations among those who've received mental health support

What can potential clients expect during an initial session? Follow up sessions?

Initial - overview of symptoms/presenting concerns; follow-up: ongoing treatment planning + developing coping strategies to grow deeper

Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?

Sure: this psychologist has a psychologist - it's an act of self-care and space of accountability to ensure that I'm always operating from an ethical and emotionally well place

What wellness strategies do you think should be given more attention within the Black community? Are there any reasons why you think they are not given more attention?

Self-care: many Black women with whom I work are surprised to learn that self-care is not a luxury, but is a critical aspect of living

How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?

I schedule myself first, after God

What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?

  1. Daily walks/talks with God

  2. Journaling

  3. Meditation

  4. Rest

  5. Talking with family/friends

What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?

  • Psychology Today

  • Therapy for Black Girls

  • resources within the grief community

Guest Contributor

Dr. Mekel Harris, Ph.D., NCSP, PMH-C, a licensed pediatric and family health psychologist/health service provider (HSP) (and CEO of Harris Psychological Services, LLC), currently serves in private practice in the mid-South, offering psychological evaluation and support to children, adolescents, and families. Further, she offers training/education, consultative, and supervisory services to several local organizations throughout the Memphis area.

Pre- and post-doctorally trained at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Harris specializes in coping and adjustment to acute and chronic illness, grief and loss, and health-related trauma. In December 2020, she completed advanced certification through Postpartum Support International (PSI) in Advanced Perinatal Mental Health. Throughout the past decade, Dr. Harris has presented at over 25 domestic and international conferences, focused on pediatric, family, and community health issues, including grief and loss. Further, she is a TEDx speaker, creator of "The Grief Anatomy Toolkit," magazine and podcast contributor, and author of a memoir, “Relaxing Into the Pain: My Journey Into Grief & Beyond.”

In her spare time, she enjoys writing, traveling around the globe, and spending time with family, friends, and her feisty Beagle. Dr. Harris’ faith and relationships, coupled with real-life challenges, keep her tethered to what matters most in life.

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