In a previous post, I shared an article highlighting the challenges clients from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds face accessing culturally responsive psychotherapy and mental health services. This is an issue I continue to hear about from clients enquiring for supports here in Ireland.
I had the privilege of discussing this issue recently with psychotherapist Ejiro Ogbevoen (MIACP) who has set up a website called Black Therapists Ireland which aims to create a directory of Black therapists, working in Ireland while hopefully helping to dissolve stigma around mental health, particularly in our Black communities.
This article from Shamim Malekmian in the Dublin InQuirer featured Ejiro and describes the background of the service interestingly highlighting some of the structural issues present in Ireland in terms of promoting diversity within the profession of counselling & psychotherapy.
The HSE launched the Second National Intercultural Health Strategy (2018-2023) outlining goals such as
- Enhancing accessibility of services to service users from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
- Addressing health issues experienced by service users from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
In terms of mental health this strikes me as very challenging when counselling is on the ineligible list of jobs for work permits, issued by the Department of Business and Enterprise. In a situation like this Black Therapists Ireland strikes me as a very important initiative which could potentially expand to provide a comprehensive service like the Muslim Counselling & Psychotherapy Network in the UK.