By Bart Magee Ph.D.
January has arrived and along with it the yearly ritual of resolutions and making efforts to follow through on commitments for self-improvement. More and more, those commitments include starting therapy. We in the mental health community wholly support those intentions, but we also know that for so many (and if you’d tried it you know) finding and affording a therapist has only gotten more and more challenging.
The first part is where to start. Does one just start Google searching? Do you ask a friend, your doctor, your yoga teacher? It all can seem so random. And what kind of therapist will be the right one? Aren’t there lots of different kinds of therapy? How does one know which is best?
Access Institute matters more than ever. We are deeply dedicated to providing a mental health safety net for those with the greatest needs. Our impact is immediate, broad, deep and extensive.
By Bart Magee, Ph.D.
News of the strike of mental health providers at Kaiser Permanente was the latest in a stream of stories of a mental healthcare system stretched far beyond its limits by a growing post-pandemic demand for care and a shortage of psychotherapists, psychiatrists and other providers. This crisis of care started well before the pandemic and will take many years to resolve. In the middle of it all, we are seeing the fruits of the research in psychedelic medicine lead to an explosion of interest in their potential, which begs a critical question: will the recent advances in psychedelic medicine and coming FDA approval of treatments help us expand treatment options and effectiveness help to mitigate the mental healthcare crisis?
By Bart Magee, Ph.D.
Over the last few years, I’ve heard different versions of this plea from the many people I’ve spoken with about our mission at Access Institute. It goes something like: “I really support what you are doing at Access Institute. Mental health affects all of us. The needs are so great and just keep growing. I donate to you, but I’d like to do more. What else can I do to help? How can I volunteer?” I was hearing this a lot before the pandemic, but today I hear it with increased urgency. Everyone is aware that depression, anxiety, problems with substance use, homelessness, and social discord are all on the rise. At the same time, the pandemic has caused people to feel more isolated from one another, making it more difficult to feel connected and capable of social change. In the mental health field, we are facing a huge provider shortage as the needs in our community grow vastly greater than what mental health providers can handle. All of this leaves people feeling helpless and hopeless, as if the problems we face can’t be solved. They can. Solutions emerge through collective action.
“Citizenship”, defined as a set of positive behaviors linked to one’s membership in a group or society, seems adrift. Who are we as citizens of San Francisco or the Bay Area? Are we members of a community that cares for one another? Are we individuals who seek connections in ways that foster our collective well-being? Are we dedicated to finding new ways to effect positive social change?
By Regina Franco, Esq.
Dear Friends of Access Institute,
For those who grew up in immigrant families, we know mental health is grossly stigmatized. That stigma’s power caused years of personal invalidation which was sad and frustrating because no one, including myself, knew my mental health was suffering. I could not break through the cultural barrier of shame associated with depression, anxiety, or other psychological problems. No one could understand the concept of not feeling well despite appearing physically fine: That it was ok not to be ok. Desperate for help, I broke through the barrier and sought treatment. After experiencing life with more ease, I knew mental health advocacy was my calling. That is why I joined the Access Institute Board.