On World Mental Health Day, The System is Failing Our Clients
To our friends and supporters,
Today is World Mental Health Day, and meanwhile the Supreme Court is debating the validity of queer and trans lives and livelihoods. This bizarre juxtaposition really gets to the heart of what we wrestle with every day at Walnut: supporting queer and trans people’s mental health in a world that’s not even sure queer and trans people’s basic rights matter.
Against this backdrop, I wanted to reach out and update you about where things stand for us. I am proud to say that Walnut Psychotherapy Center just celebrated its fourth year in business, and the nonprofit Walnut Wellness Fund is nearly a year old. While we are getting better and better at what we do, it doesn’t get easier. These are the things we know for sure, as we continue to offer mental health treatment to the LGBTQ population:
Acuity is increasing as we are seeing substantial suicidality and self-harming behaviors in direct response to our political climate and the targeted attacks on trans lives, in particular.
Insurance companies have denied our requests to increase their reimbursement rates for the past four years, as our rent increases and so does our wish to pay therapists a fair and living wage.
We are offering therapy at some of the lowest rates in the City, attempting at all times to maintain a high level of accessibility for those who could not otherwise afford treatment.
Deductibles associated with many health insurance plans put treatment out of reach for a large number of our inquiring new clients.
The fact is that the system is set up to fail those who are truly struggling with their mental health, are marginalized because of their identity, and are not adequately supported by our incredibly inequitable economy. We are learning more about how this system keeps people unwell every day, as we try our best to pay living wages, offer highly competent and specialized care, and to stay afloat amidst the growing chaos that is mental health care in America.
To be blunt, I am writing at this time because our clients need your help. The only way to offset the failures of this system is through the generosity of our community.
Literally every dollar you donate will go to our clients, to helping those whose benefits have suddenly just run out, who are working in the gig economy, or working three plus jobs to pay their student loans while managing depression, PTSD, or mood swings, to name a few.
You are in the unique position to really do something about what’s going on in the world. You can make life more livable for some of the people who suffer most at the hands of our broken systems. The individuals who currently receive scholarships through the Walnut Wellness Fund are all transgender people of color living below the poverty line. When you donate to Walnut Wellness Fund, your money doesn’t disappear into another broken system. Instead, it makes mental health care possible for individuals who couldn’t get help otherwise, breaking the isolation of their struggles and connecting them to therapists who have the right tools to support them.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, if you donate now, we will mail you a thank-you package of notebooks, stickers, and our collection of infographics! Just visit www.walnutwellnessfund.com/donate and submit a donation before Friday, October 11th at midnight. Be sure to include your address on the donation form in order to receive your gift!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and to learn about our work. We couldn’t do it without you.
Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, LCSW
Founder & Director
Walnut Psychotherapy Center
1500 Walnut Street, Suite 300