Guest Contributor: Crystal Obasanya, LCSW
Crisis Counselor, Crystal OTv
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
To me, Black wellness is breaking through the mental health barriers created through societal or community stigma and systemic factors and taking care of our brains the way they need to be taken care of. Black wellness is overcoming the shame felt to seek therapy, asking for help, and not labeling a need for help as a sign of weakness. Black wellness is necessary and important but will only start when we realize our need for help and seek it out to tend to our mental health.
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
I promote change and well-being in the Black community by offering resources through my online mental health e-course, educational blog posts, Instagram posts, and YouTube videos. I also promote change by starting with myself — being an example of sharing my journey with my disorder as well as the need to heal and persevere.
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?
I do not have any upcoming events, but I do have an online eCourse that is in the process of being open for enrollment!
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
I graduated with a bachelors or science in Psychology and then went to Baylor to attain my master’s degree in social work (clinical track). After graduating, I sat for my licensure exam and attained my LMSW (Licensed Master of Social Work), and then, recently, I finished 3,000 hours of direct clinical practice, 2 years of clinical placement and 100 hours of supervision, which allows me to sit for my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), which I passed! So, by the grace of God, I am officially a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. My current area of expertise is adults because that is what I currently work with daily. I enjoy working with children and families and wouldn’t mind the opportunity to practice with this population in the future. I am EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) trained and enjoy using solution focused therapy, TBRI, play therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise (yoga instructor, clergy, mental health professional, etc.)?
I’m a mental health professional as well as an influencer using my platform to speak on mental wellness and health.
What are some things that we should know about your area of expertise?
I honestly find joy in helping people find hope.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
By sharing resources about mental health therapists, activities, opportunities, events, and groups. Openly or personally destigmatizing mental disorders and a need for therapy.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
Talking about it openly, modeling what it looks like to go to therapy, prioritize mental health and empathetically support others struggling with their mental health.
What can potential clients expect during an initial session? Follow up sessions?
The first session is the intake, which includes assessments, the collecting of information and signing of confidentiality/informed consent. Potential clients can expect to get to know who I am in the working relationship, along with my role, as well as share things about themselves.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
Yes. As a therapist and someone who is healing from a disorder, I attend therapy and also educate myself on latest treatment models, workbooks, etc.
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?
Deep breathing, cognitive reframing, mindfulness. I feel like these are not given attention because they are not taught and commonly discussed.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care? I
use pauses throughout my day to check in with myself or intentionally schedule time for self-care.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
Doing a task that needs to be completed
What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?
Pages that promote mental wellness, and public figures that speak about their journey with mental health.
Crystal Obasanya is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that currently works as a Crisis Counselor. She is a wife, believer, entrepreneur, influencer and dog mom to two rescue pups! She loves to share her life to encourage, bring hope, and teach others about wellness, beauty, faith and skincare.