Photo credits: bhconsultingservices.net
Mental health issues are a hidden cancer that exist more prevalently than ever. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the gaps in treating serious emotional and psychological disorders costs America $193.2 billion in lost wages each year.
In addition to the adverse intangible costs, mental illness is imposing an overwhelming tangible cost to the public as well. Asha Tarry (pictured) is a warrior in the fight against mental illness and the personal problems that stem from not receiving help.
Tarry is the CEO of Behavioral Health Consulting Services LMSW, PLLC (B.H.C.S.). She is a certified Life Coach who is known as “The Behavioralist.” Tarry is also a licensed psychotherapist.
She is a native of Brooklyn, New York and her life work is centered around “helping people create mental clarity and transformative new ways of living life on purpose.”
At B.H.C.S. and in life, Tarry has touched the lives of thousands of people. Recently, she created a tidal wave of discussions on social about discerning authentic and unauthentic forms of treating people who are dealing with adverse life situations that are leading to their mental illness.
Tarry and I had a professional interaction after she was interviewed on camera by a digital network affiliate of mine on a popular web talk series. On behalf of HealthyBlackWoman.com, I conducted my own exclusive interview of Tarry. In an undeniably realistic fashion, she accurately described some pressing societal issues and even shared sound solutions to these issues. You can read a full transcript of the interview below.
VT: I’ll start off by saying hello and thank you for conducting this interview with us. We are glad to have you! My first question concerns shedding light on a recent post you made on social media that some of our readers may not know about. Could you elaborate on the statement you made and the motivations that led you to make that statement?
AT: Recently, I posted during a controversial message on Facebook about life coach, Iyanla Vanzant. What I said was, “Iyanla Vanzant is not a therapist!” It was not intended to insult nor offend. It was intended to keep my existing community dialogue going about the difference between life coaches, reality TV stars, and psychotherapists. The comment garnered the attention of a lot of people online, including scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins, who later interviewed me on his show, Intellectual Chocolate to discus mental health treatment.
My role as a therapist and a life coach includes guiding, advising and providing education to the public. A lot of people are misinformed about mental illness, mental health treatment and trained providers. I’m here to help clarify and demystify the reality about therapy. And therapy and coaching are completely different forms of help.
VT: When people are seeking help while on their path toward establishing better mental health, do you believe it is important for them to know the difference between what certain professionals can do and cannot do, as well as how to accurately distinguish the variety of professionals who practice in the mental health treatment field?
AT: Yes, it’s important for people to know who can help them. However, sometimes people may not know who they’re looking for as much as they know what they’re looking for and that may be relief from i.e. psychological distress, physical tension, low, anxious or angry mood, paranoid thoughts, etc. Professionals are there to help educate you on what they’re trained and experienced in providing and not providing help with. And where they lack the evidence to provide the appropriate support, they can refer you.
VT: Do you believe that some of the hostile, combative, and socially unstable routines, which are a component of black televised entertainment contribute to a form of help or hurt when it comes to the mental stability of black men and women? How influential do you believe these televised figures are?
AT: We are in a social age where fantasy and violence prevail. People want escapes from reality more than they want to deal with reality. We also have difficulty working through our pain, especially with the use of television. Why? Because TV is for entertainment purposes. It’s not a device meant for learning how to socialize or heal our open wounds. That’s what mental health providers, counselors, ministers, teachers, medical providers and parents are there for.
But, we’ve been conditioned in the absence of responsible community leaders, like those I’ve mentioned, to mimic bad behaviors and that’s what that is. It’s people behaving badly, who are desperate for attention and a society who gets rewarded for creating buffoons out of disadvantaged and vulnerable people I.e..black and brown people. What folks are missing is sound judgment, respect for themselves and who they represent, and a narcissistic need to be witnessed by any means necessary.
Sadly, there’s dozens of outlets eagerly waiting to exploit them. So, does it help or hurt? I think we all know the answer to that. And like anything else that’s popular, may people want to be in the “in” crowd and get their 5 seconds of fame, too. The truth is, and what’s not being communicated in most of these shows is that people learn how to communicate through practice and watching healthy conversations occur over and over again.
They learn how outcomes can be created through both good and bad encounters and they make decisions on how they want to participate and in what ways they want to determine the types of outcomes they’d like to experience. It’s part of critical thinking; a component of learning that’s been devalued all across our society. Reality TV stars have a lot of power to influence an entire generation’s thinking because we’ve given it to them.
But, we can change that by having conversations with developing young minds, using media as a tool to teach them, not to cultivate them.
VT: What are your biggest career goals ahead off the strength of what you have done thus far? Do you speak at public engagements? If so, where can readers in your metro area find you at your next event?
AT: My goals are many and I’m always growing and developing new ways to broaden the work I do as a life coach and as a psychotherapist. I’ve been featured in magazines, on nationally syndicated radio, public access TV; I’ve spoken to audiences across a variety of areas. I own my own private practice and my next moves are waiting to show the world the power of how intelligent people of color can navigate these loop holes and create legacies of greatness for other generations to build upon.
My work isn’t just beginning in what I do. I’ve been in the mental health field for almost 17 years. But, in other ways, I’m just beginning to show the world all of my dreams. So, yes, I speak at health expos, to media outlets, in classrooms to youth and families. I look forward to doing more television in the future and collaborating with other brands. Summer is just around the corner and my online coaching village will be able to be a part of some great work with me in a few months.
I also have a new YouTube channel coming soon. So, as you see, I’m always working and reinventing ways to bring the message of hope, success and healing to the world. I look hoping to transform as many lives wherever the Most High’s path leads me.
VT: Again, we really appreciate you taking the time to conduct this interview. We look forward to covering your future success!
AT: Thank you and best wishes!