About

Mission

The Kansas City Black Mental Health Initiative’s mission is to acknowledge and work diligently to support and strengthen the Black community. We do this by expanding awareness, representation, and de-stigmatization of Black mental health within the Kansas City metro area.

Vision

In order to properly destigmatize and provide awareness to Black Mental Wellness, we must diversify the field of mental Wellness with those who represent the community and provide them access to serving their Black community.

Our Impact

Poverty, systemic oppression, and traditional paradigms grounded in a survivor’s mindset have led to the stigmatization of mental health within Black communities.

Today, there exists a cultural trauma surrounding mental health care, stemming from America’s healthcare system’s history of exploitative practices and procedures performed with and on Black people. In addition to this, a continual lack of culturally-sensitive or supportive care for Black patients has led to a loss of confidence in the efficacy of health care systems and their practitioners.

Within the field of health care, Black mental health professionals face barriers when acquiring their credentials. While working in agencies or in private practice, many Black practitioners are unable to provide care to Black communities, serving those who can afford it, so they themselves can become, and remain, financially stable. This, in turn, stigmatizes Black practitioners by their cultural communities because of a perceived disconnect between the needs of the Black community and the “respectability politics” Black professionals are subject to.

We believe that restoring the prioritization of mental wellness in the Black community not simply a matter of access to “safe” mental health care, but that of access to empathetic care that comes from Black mental health practitioners who understand not only the needs of a patient, but also the social/cultural factors that interact with cultural attitudes.

By supporting Black mental health practitioners, promoting their work, and leveraging our relationships with Black communities in Kansas City, we can remove the barriers to access for both care-seekers and practitioners.

Our Team

Staff

Cecil Wattree LSCSW, LCSW

Founder, Executive Director

Tami Vang CRADC, MARS

Operations Director

Board of Directors

Netta Thompson

Reggie Jackson LSCSW

Alisha Duarte

Johnny Waller Jr.

Ondria Thornton, LCSW

Caleb Asher

Bureau Chairs

Shafeeqa Small

Dr. Erica Thompson

Ondria Thorton

Reggie Jackson