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the national Association of Black Counselors

  • 19 Feb 2024 3:56 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    As we continue our celebration of Black History Month, NABC delves into a critical chapter of Black mental health history—one that sheds light on the establishment of psychiatric facilities and the complex interplay between healthcare, race, and control. Today, we reflect on the Central State Lunatic Asylum and the Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland, institutions that underscore the systemic challenges faced by African Americans seeking mental health care.

    Dr. Utsey's Quest for Truth:

    Dr. Shawn Utsey, a distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Humanities and Sciences, embarked on a profound journey to unravel the history of the Central State Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane. His documentary endeavors to expose the stark realities faced by African American individuals seeking mental health care during an era rife with racial prejudice and injustice.

    Central State Lunatic Asylum: A Warehouse of Control and Punishment

    In 1869, this asylum opened its doors, seemingly as a beacon of mental health care exclusively for African Americans. However, the grim truth, as Dr. Utsey uncovers, paints a different picture. The conditions within the Central State Lunatic Asylum mirrored warehouses—not designed for health reasons but as instruments of control and punishment. White physicians, some responsible for inventing psychiatric disorders like drapetomania, were paradoxically involved in the establishment of this facility.

    Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland: A Farm Veiling Horrors

    The Hospital for the Negro Insane in Crownsville, Maryland, presents a haunting paradox. From the outside, it resembled a farm, with patients engaging in seemingly productive activities. However, Antonia Hylton's investigative work reveals a starkly different narrative within its walls—a story of maltreatment and human rights violations. The idyllic exterior masked the harsh reality endured by African American patients seeking mental health care.

    The Chilling Reality: Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland

    In 1911, the Hospital for the Negro Insane opened in Crownsville, Maryland, presenting an idyllic farm-like exterior to the public. From the outside, the facility resembled a farm, with patients engaging in activities such as harvesting tobacco and working with cattle, giving the impression of a progressive approach to mental health care. However, the investigative work of Peabody award-winning NBC journalist Antonia Hylton exposed a different narrative within its walls. The hospital's interior hid stories of maltreatment, exploitation, and human rights violations, laying bare the systemic issues that plagued mental health care for Black individuals during this era.

    The Continuing Journey:

    As we navigate the historical corridors of Black mental health care, the NABC remains dedicated to amplifying these narratives. Dr. Utsey's documentary and Antonia Hylton's journalism underscore the importance of acknowledging the struggles of the past to pave the way for a more just and equitable future.

    This Black History Month, let us honor the resilience of those who have faced the shadows of mental health care's history. NABC calls for continued advocacy, awareness, and the dismantling of systemic injustices within mental health care. By recognizing and learning from these historical truths, we empower ourselves to shape a future where mental health care is compassionate, inclusive, and free from discrimination.

  • 14 Feb 2024 8:11 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    February is a special month for black people because we find ourselves at an intersection of two powerful celebrations – Black History Month and Valentine's Day. This unique convergence provides an opportunity to reflect on the rich tapestry of black love that has woven its way through history, transcending time and leaving an indelible mark on the world. In this blog post, we celebrate the beauty, resilience, and significance of black love during this special month.

    Black Love:

    Black love is a multifaceted gem that reflects the strength, resilience, and beauty of the African diaspora. From the struggles of the past to the triumphs of the present, black love has been a guiding force, an anchor that has withstood the test of time.

    • Historical Foundations: Black love has deep roots in history, shaped by the enduring bonds formed during times of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and countless other pivotal moments. Despite facing systemic challenges, black couples have demonstrated unwavering love and solidarity, becoming beacons of hope for generations to come.

    • Cultural Richness: The diversity within the black community is mirrored in the myriad expressions of love. From Afro-Caribbean traditions to the vibrant tapestry of African cultures, the celebration of love takes on a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, and customs, each telling a unique story.

    • Modern Icons of Black Love: Today, black love is celebrated through the power couples who grace our screens, stages, and communities. Whether it's the Obamas, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, or other influential figures, these couples exemplify love's ability to thrive and inspire, even under the public eye.

    The Intersection of Black History Month and Valentine's Day:

    • Resilience and Triumph: The stories of black love told during Black History Month highlight not only the challenges faced but also the triumphs achieved through love. It's a testament to the strength of individuals and communities who have overcome adversity, creating a legacy of love that stands as a testament to resilience.

    • Cultural Heritage and Unity: Black love is inseparable from the celebration of cultural heritage. This month provides an opportunity to explore and embrace the rich traditions that contribute to the tapestry of black love, fostering a sense of unity and pride in shared histories.

    • Love as a Catalyst for Change: Throughout history, black love has been a catalyst for social change. Couples who stood side by side during times of injustice have paved the way for progress. As we celebrate black love on Valentine's Day, we also honor the role it has played in shaping a more equitable and just world.

    In this month of love and remembrance, let us celebrate the profound impact of black love on history, culture, and society. As we honor Black History Month and Valentine's Day simultaneously, let's recognize and cherish the strength, beauty, and resilience of black love – a force that continues to shape the narrative of love for generations to come.

  • 12 Feb 2024 3:33 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    As we step into the third week of Black History Month, NABC proudly pays homage to two luminaries in the field of psychology: Dr. Francis Sumner and Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser. These trailblazing individuals have not only shaped the landscape of psychological research and education but have also been instrumental in advocating for equality and justice within the realm of mental health.

    Dr. Francis Sumner: The Father of Black Psychology

    Born in 1895 in Arkansas, Dr. Francis Sumner etched his name in history as the "Father of Black Psychology." In 1920, he achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the first African American to earn a PhD in psychology. Dr. Sumner's work focused on dismantling prevailing stereotypes and biases related to race and intelligence.

    Beyond academia, Dr. Sumner was a tireless advocate for equal opportunities in education and mental health. His research laid a foundation for a more nuanced understanding of intellectual abilities within diverse populations. Dr. Sumner's legacy serves as an inspiration for Black counselors, emphasizing the importance of dismantling racial disparities and advocating for inclusivity within mental health services.

    Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser: A Trailblazer in Educational Psychology

    Born in 1897 in Texas, Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser made history in 1933 as the first African American woman to earn a PhD in psychology. Her pioneering dissertation, "The Non-Academic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools," explored the psychological impact of racial segregation on the educational experiences of Black children.

    Dr. Prosser's work laid the groundwork for future studies on the psychological effects of segregation and emphasized the significance of creating inclusive educational environments. Despite facing numerous challenges as a Black woman in academia during a tumultuous era, she paved the way for subsequent generations of Black psychologists, leaving an enduring legacy in educational psychology.

    Legacy and Impact on Mental Health Advocacy:

    The legacies of Dr. Francis Sumner and Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser continue to resonate in the field of mental health. Their unwavering commitment to advancing education, dismantling stereotypes, and advocating for equal opportunities has inspired generations of Black psychologists and counselors.

    As we celebrate the third week of Black History Month, let us reflect on the profound impact of these trailblazers. Their resilience, intellectual prowess, and dedication to social justice have paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse landscape in psychology and mental health. Dr. Sumner and Dr. Prosser's stories remind us that, even in the face of adversity, individuals can catalyze positive change and leave an enduring mark on the pursuit of knowledge and equality. NABC stands in gratitude for their contributions and continues to champion the principles they held dear.

  • 5 Feb 2024 3:30 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    As we delve into the second week of Black History Month, it is crucial to spotlight the remarkable contributions of Black individuals to the field of mental health. This week, we celebrate the trailblazers who have shattered barriers, challenged stigmas, and significantly advanced our understanding and treatment of mental health issues within the Black community.

    Cultural Awareness in Mental Health Care:

    Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, a psychologist, educator, and author, has been a leading voice in advocating for cultural awareness in mental health care. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and mental health, emphasizing the importance of understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds.

    Trauma-Informed Care Advocacy:

    Dr. Joy DeGruy, a renowned researcher and author, has made invaluable contributions to the understanding of intergenerational trauma. Her groundbreaking book, "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome," explores the lasting impact of historical trauma on the mental health of Black individuals. Dr. DeGruy's work has played a pivotal role in promoting trauma-informed care within the mental health community.

    Intersectionality in Mental Health:

    Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal scholar and professor, coined the term "intersectionality," which has become a crucial framework in understanding how various aspects of identity, including race and gender, intersect and contribute to different forms of discrimination and disadvantage. This concept has been instrumental in shaping mental health discourse, fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to treatment.

    Therapeutic Innovation:

    Dr. Carl Bell, a psychiatrist, has been at the forefront of developing culturally sensitive and community-based mental health interventions. His work has focused on addressing the specific needs of marginalized populations, recognizing the importance of community involvement and empowerment in the therapeutic process.

    Media Representation for Mental Health:

    Celebrities like Taraji P. Henson continue to use their platforms to destigmatize mental health discussions within the Black community. Through her foundation, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Henson has tirelessly advocated for increased access to mental health resources, particularly for Black individuals.

    As we reflect on the second week of Black History Month, we honor the resilience, brilliance, and determination of Black individuals who have played a pivotal role in advancing mental health awareness and treatment. Their contributions have not only broken down barriers but have also paved the way for a more inclusive and empathetic approach to mental well-being. Let us continue to celebrate and amplify these voices, recognizing that the journey toward mental health equity is ongoing and requires collective effort and understanding.

  • 22 Jan 2024 11:11 AM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become central to discussions in U.S. higher education. This blog post aims to shed light on the current state of DEI, focusing on the experiences of Black women in leadership at universities, including Dr. Claudine Gay at Harvard University, Dr. Sherita Hill at Johns Hopkins, and the tragic story of Antoinette Candia-Bailey at Lincoln University. We'll also explore the experiences of Black men in higher education, the impact on the Black community, and the essential role of counselors and clinicians in navigating this challenging educational landscape.

    Black Women in Leadership:

    Triumphs and Tragedy Dr. Claudine Gay's resignation as the first Black president at Harvard University, as reported by The New York Times, raises questions about the complexities faced by Black women in top leadership positions. The challenges she encountered emphasize the need for continued efforts to dismantle systemic barriers and promote true inclusivity.

    Similarly, Dr. Sherita Hill's role as DEI chief at Johns Hopkins, as reported by the Daily Mail, underscores the challenges of advocating for inclusivity in environments that may resist change. The struggles faced by Black women in leadership roles reveal the pervasive nature of systemic issues within academia.

    Tragically, the suicide of Antoinette Candia-Bailey at Lincoln University, reported by BET, adds a heartbreaking layer to the narrative. Her story highlights the devastating consequences of workplace mistreatment and the urgent need for cultural shifts to ensure the well-being of all individuals within academic institutions.

    The Experience of Black Men in Higher Education:

    Despite progress, Black men in higher education continue to face systemic challenges. Unequal access to resources, discriminatory practices, and the need for a more inclusive curriculum shape the experiences of Black male students.

    The campus climate significantly influences the experiences of Black men. Efforts to create an inclusive environment must go beyond statistics, addressing underlying issues contributing to a sense of exclusion. Fostering a culture of belonging, implementing anti-racist policies, and providing mental health support are essential components of promoting the success and well-being of Black male students.

    Impact on the Black Community:

    The state of DEI in higher education directly impacts the broader Black community. Education serves as a key driver of social and economic mobility, and disparities in higher education can perpetuate existing inequalities. The success and representation of Black individuals in academia serve as crucial role models, challenging stereotypes and influencing community aspirations.

    The tragedies, including the reported experiences of Black women in leadership roles, underscore the broader impact of systemic issues on individuals and communities. They emphasize the urgency of addressing workplace mistreatment and creating environments that support the holistic well-being of all members of the academic community.

    Our Role as Counselors and Clinicians:

    Counselors and clinicians play a pivotal role in supporting individuals and professionals navigating the complexities of DEI in higher education. Cultural competence is paramount for addressing the unique challenges faced by Black students and professionals. Providing a safe space for dialogue and support, counselors contribute to recognizing the impact of systemic issues, addressing mental health stigma, and offering resources to cope with academic and personal stresses.

    As professionals and teachers navigating this tumultuous education landscape, we must acknowledge the impact these incidents have on us. The emotional toll of supporting clients through challenging situations, combined with the need for continuous self-reflection and education, underscores the importance of self-care and a supportive community within our profession.

    As the U.S. higher education landscape grapples with both triumphs and tragedies, the call for meaningful change becomes more urgent. Celebrating achievements while actively addressing systemic issues is essential for fostering a more equitable and inclusive future. Counselors and clinicians, as integral members of the academic community, play a crucial role in navigating this tumultuous landscape. The tragedies we've witnessed emphasize the imperative for systemic change and a commitment to the well-being of individuals within academia. Together, through advocacy, support, and self-care, we can contribute to creating environments that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion while acknowledging and addressing the challenges along the way.

  • 4 Jan 2024 9:08 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    In the ever-evolving landscape of mental health care, accessibility to professional counseling services remains a critical concern. The Counseling Compact, formally known as the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), has emerged as a game-changer in the field, offering a streamlined path for licensed counselors to practice across state lines. For Black counselors, this initiative holds enormous promise, as it tackles long-standing barriers to service delivery and empowers them to better serve their clients.

    Understanding the Counseling Compact

    The Counseling Compact is an interstate compact—a contractual agreement among multiple states that enables professional counselors, who are licensed and reside in compact member states, to practice in other member states without the need for multiple licenses. This arrangement simplifies the process of providing mental health care services to clients in different states.

    Key Features of the Counseling Compact

    • Uniform Licensure Requirements: One of the key benefits of the Counseling Compact is the establishment of uniform licensure requirements. Black counselors meeting these requirements can quickly obtain a privilege to practice in any other compact member state, essentially granting them a license to provide counseling services.

    • Licensure Data System: The Compact's shared interstate licensure data system is a pivotal development. This system allows for near-instant verification of licensure status, ensuring that the counselor has met the requisite standards for safe and effective practice. This streamlined process eliminates the cumbersome bureaucracy and wait times often associated with obtaining licenses in multiple states.

    • Enhanced Public Protection: The Counseling Compact goes beyond facilitating licensure mobility. It promotes public protection by ensuring that member states share investigative and disciplinary information with each other. This collaborative approach safeguards clients by preventing counselors with disciplinary issues in one state from practicing in another without the necessary oversight.

    The Significance for Black Counselors

    The Counseling Compact holds unique significance for Black counselors and the clients they serve:

    1. Expanding Access to Care: Black communities, especially those in underserved or remote areas, often face barriers to accessing culturally sensitive mental health services. The Compact's streamlined process allows Black counselors to expand their reach and provide services to individuals who might otherwise struggle to find appropriate care.

    2. Fostering Cultural Competency: Practicing across state lines requires an even greater commitment to cultural competence. Black counselors must understand and adapt to the diverse needs and experiences within the Black community, ensuring that clients receive culturally relevant and effective counseling.

    3. Breaking Down Disparities: The Compact addresses historical disparities in mental health care access by simplifying the process of practicing in different states. This inclusivity and portability of licenses contribute to a more equitable mental health care system for all, irrespective of their location.

    4. Professional Growth: The Counseling Compact encourages Black counselors to engage in professional development and collaboration with colleagues from different states. This not only benefits the counselors themselves but also enhances the quality of care provided to clients.

    Preparing for the Future

    While the Counseling Compact is a monumental step forward for the counseling profession, applications for compact privileges are not yet open. However, the Compact Commission is diligently working to open applications to practitioners, with expectations for this to occur around mid-2024.

    In the meantime, Black counselors can ensure that their home state license is in good standing. They may also want to prepare for a jurisprudence exam if required by the state in which they intend to apply for a compact privilege. Staying informed and proactive is key to leveraging the opportunities that the Counseling Compact offers.

    The Counseling Compact is poised to reshape the landscape of counseling, making it more accessible, efficient, and equitable. Black counselors, in particular, stand to benefit by being able to reach clients across state lines and provide culturally competent care. This initiative is a positive step toward addressing the mental health needs of the Black community and creating a more inclusive and interconnected future for mental health care professionals and clients alike.

  • 4 Jan 2024 8:55 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    In a landmark development in the healthcare sector, Medicare, the federal health insurance program serving senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, has expanded its coverage to include mental health counseling services. This positive change not only increases healthcare options for eligible beneficiaries but also offers Black counselors a unique opportunity to provide their essential services and bill Medicare for them. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of this new law and provide a comprehensive guide on how Black counselors can register to bill Medicare, including a crucial starting date for the registration process.

    Medicare's Expanded Coverage for Counseling Services

    Historically, Medicare's primary focus was on covering medical services, hospital care, and prescription drugs. However, recent legislative changes acknowledge the importance of mental health care and have broadened Medicare's scope to encompass counseling services. This is a significant step toward recognizing the importance of mental health in overall well-being and addressing the specific healthcare needs of the Medicare-eligible Black population.

    Key Provisions of the New Law

    • Eligible Providers: Black counselors who meet state licensure requirements can bill Medicare for their counseling services. This includes licensed clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors.

    • Covered Services: Medicare now covers a range of counseling services, such as individual and group psychotherapy, diagnostic assessments, and specific psychological testing for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.

    • Beneficiary Eligibility: Black Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible based on age or disability and who have qualifying mental health conditions can access these counseling services.

    • Reimbursement Rates: Medicare will reimburse providers at rates consistent with the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), which is updated annually.

    Procedures for Registering with Medicare

    To become an approved Medicare provider for counseling services, Black counselors should follow these crucial steps:

    1. Obtain Necessary Licensing: Ensure that you possess the appropriate state licensure required to provide mental health counseling services. Licensing requirements may vary by state, so it is essential to consult your state's licensing board for specific information.

    2. Apply for an NPI Number: Acquire a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number from the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES). The NPI is a unique identifier necessary for billing Medicare and other healthcare payers.

    3. Establish an NPI Type 2 Entity: If you practice independently, consider establishing an NPI Type 2 entity. This entity allows you to bill Medicare, and you can complete this process through the NPPES website.

    4. Enroll in Medicare: To enroll as a Medicare provider, visit the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) website or contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for enrollment forms.

    5. Complete the Enrollment Application: Submit your enrollment application, along with supporting documentation, which may include proof of licensure, your NPI number, and other relevant information.

    6. Wait for Approval: After submitting your application, expect a waiting period for Medicare to review and approve your enrollment. The approval process may take several weeks, so be patient.

    7. Comply with Medicare Rules and Regulations: Once approved, it is vital to adhere to Medicare's billing rules and regulations. Familiarize yourself with the Medicare Claims Processing Manual and other relevant guidelines to ensure proper billing and compliance.

    Starting the Registration Process

    Black counselors interested in becoming Medicare providers for counseling services should commence the registration process as soon as possible. To make the most of this opportunity, it is recommended to initiate the registration process within the next 30 days.

    To get started, visit the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) website [insert link:] or contact your local Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for assistance and enrollment forms. Don't miss this chance to provide valuable mental health services to the Black Medicare-eligible population while contributing to overall well-being.

    The recent expansion of Medicare to cover counseling services is a significant milestone that holds promise for Black counselors and their communities. By following the registration procedures outlined in this article and starting the process within the next 30 days, Black counselors can become Medicare providers and play a vital role in improving access to mental health care for seniors and individuals with disabilities within the Black community. This is a pivotal moment in healthcare and counseling, and it's an opportunity to make a lasting impact.

  • 4 Jan 2024 8:22 PM | Nick Battle (Administrator)

    At The National Association of Black Counselors (NABC), as members of the African Diaspora, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing conflicts in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These crises have caused immeasurable suffering, and as advocates for mental health and well-being, we feel a moral and professional duty to address these issues.

    The prolonged conflicts in Sudan and the Congo have led to a humanitarian catastrophe, with countless individuals and families affected by violence, displacement, and trauma. The toll on the mental and emotional well-being of the people in these regions is immeasurable.

    As counselors, we believe in the power of healing and resilience. We are committed to supporting the people of Sudan and the Congo by:

    1. Raising Awareness: We aim to raise awareness about the mental health impact of conflict in these regions. The psychological and emotional trauma experienced by survivors and witnesses of violence is a critical issue that requires global attention.

    2. Advocacy: We advocate for increased humanitarian aid, peace negotiations, and conflict resolution efforts. Sustainable peace is essential for the well-being of the affected populations.

    3. Capacity Building: We are dedicated to supporting local mental health professionals in Sudan and the Congo by providing resources, training, and guidance on trauma-informed care and counseling.

    4. Collaboration: We actively seek collaborations with organizations, governments, and individuals who share our commitment to addressing the mental health needs of those affected by the conflicts.

    5. Racial and Cultural Sensitivity: We recognize that the impact of these conflicts is compounded by existing racial and cultural disparities. We are committed to addressing these issues with sensitivity and cultural competence.

    It is our hope that by addressing the mental health challenges in these regions, we can contribute to the broader efforts to bring peace, healing, and recovery to the people of Sudan and the Congo. We stand in solidarity with the affected communities and are committed to making a meaningful difference.

    Together, we can work towards a more just and peaceful world where the mental health and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their background, is valued and prioritized.

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