As the Black community continues to push back against police brutality, racial injustices, and the disproportionate amount of COVID-19 deaths, maintaining mental health is a priority, especially for Saleemah McNeil, founder of the Oshun Family Center.
To make that clear, according to Philadelphia Magazine, McNeil has just raised more than $81,000 in her efforts to provide free therapy for those affected by acute racial trauma.
“Seeing Black people in my community impacted by the pandemic and the racial epidemic, I knew I wanted to support their mental health through all the recent devastation,” the reproductive psychotherapist said, according to Philly Magazine.
McNeil’s initial fundraising goal of $5,000 was eclipsed by a one day gain of $7,000 which led her to expand the fundraiser’s reach via a partnership with Valerie Braunstein of Philly Psychology. The partnership then brought in a massive amount of funding.
Funds raised will allow Oshun Family Center to provided eight 60-minute sessions to clients at no charge. After the complimentary sessions, McNeil and staff will continue to offer sessions at a sliding scale rate.
McNeil founded the Oshun Family Center in 2018 to address the connection between racism and maternal health. The Pennsylvania-based center believes in racially-concordant care and offers clients a therapist who looks like them and may share similar experiences.
“[As a Black woman and mother,] I am able to emotionally understand and empathize with the plight of Black women and mothers specifically. While the sessions do get heavy sometimes, I believe there is power in getting to know the therapist sitting across from you, especially a therapist who understands [or has lived through] your experience,” McNeil said.
McNeil hopes to raise a total of $100,000 in order to continue to provide free therapy sessions to the Black community and sustain the Oshun Family Center post-COVID-19. She holds a long term activism perspective and wants allies “to remember that Black lives have and will always matter, and continue supporting Black folks after the protests end.”
Click here to donate to the Oshun Family Center.