A few years ago I wrote an article for Huff Post about how therapy failed me.  My therapist invalidated and ignored my pain based on my race. I applaud Rossina Schroeer-Santiago of Element of Discovery and the Therapist of Color Collaborative for the important work they are doing. Hopefully, no one will feel like I did that heartbreaking day. 

What do you do?

Founder Rossina Schroeer-Santiago told MOD&ALT Health Magazine,”I am a Private Practice Mental Health Provider.”

What makes you different?

Your therapy looks like YOU!

Schroeer-Santiago says.”My business is known as being the home of the “Therapist of Color Collaborative”, the first of its kind that serves as a collaborative of mental health professionals that crosses racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural boundaries by providing a space promoting mental health equity …..a place “where therapy looks like you!”

How your Business Got Started?

I am here to heal others.

Schroeer-Santiago explains.”The first part of my journey was a leap of faith when I quit my 9 to 5 job with an agency that was exploiting me and literally sucking the life force out of me. It was at that point that I opened my private practice full-time to create a space where individuals could begin to intentionally heal from their harms and traumas. When I had my own experience in therapy where I sat in a room across from a therapist who often times did not look like me, I quickly realized that one of the many reasons People of Color (POC) don’t go to therapy is because they don’t want to have to justify their experience to someone, they simply want help. So the more I thought about it, I realized it was more of a social responsibility for me to get back into my community to do this work to promote healing and create access. More importantly, connecting meaningfully in my community to change the narrative of POC’s seeking and accessing mental health.

Biggest Win?

$290,000 in grants.

Schroeer-Santiago adds, “My biggest win was winning my first-ever grant! Why this is a big deal? Presently, my collaborative is one of the only entities in Colorado that has been awarded a total grant over $290,000 to provide direct mental health services to support victims of crime that is not a “non-profit” entity. Typically, grant funding goes to non-profits and will support maybe staff positions or programs….but we are providing direct mental health services at no cost to the individual impacted by the crime. So as a collaborative of private practitioners, you could say we are changing a bit of the narrative in how we are able to provide direct services to individuals in historically underserved and under-accessed communities – which translates to our communities of color.

What would you do differently?

Schroeer-Santiago explains, “If I could do it all over again, I would create more online video and audio content sooner because I now see the value in using these methods, not only to connect with more people but also to further develop my voice as an influencer. I would stick to ONE social media platform, rather than trying to be everywhere. Finally, I would seek out opportunities to collaborate with other local healers rather than going it alone.”

Interesting Fact?

Schroeer-Santiago shared, “This collaborative is actually the manifestation of something that I have been speaking about for the past two years and is actually now a reality. “Won’t He Do It!”

Register for your FREE Ticket!

Reserve your spot to hear Rossina Schroeer-Santiago in “Being in the Meantime: The Importance of Mental Health in Communities of Color” during the Be Whole, Be Free Virtual Summit Aug 12-17.