Platform allows viewers to accept ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’

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Crusader Staff Report

Mental health in the Black community is a hush-hush topic. Though there is an increasing familiarity with mental health issues and terminology, there still persists an aura of secrecy in the community. Discussing the mental health of a loved one by Black families is a no-no as it appears Blacks are too scared their family members will be called “crazy.”

Kimberly Boone

Kimberly Boone who holds a MA in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist (MATS) is currently pursuing a doctorate in Psychology. She addresses mental health concerns in an online platform she calls Mental Chatter.

Boone says she developed the concept of Mental Chatter in response to such concerns. Patients she encountered in both her role as clinical director of a substance abuse program, and in her private practice, voiced their feelings about mental health, and, she says, “I know firsthand what it’s like to battle anxiety and feeling like I couldn’t grab a hold of my thoughts and emotions.

“I hope that my own experience makes me more relatable and that my expertise in how to overcome this will cause people to want to reach out for help.”

The Mental Chatter site is designed to offer a platform that makes it okay to have problems from time to time, and to make symptoms of anxiety and depression more real. The site allows people to express their feelings and to not feel the need to hide their distress and isolate themselves from the rest of the world.

Boone, a licensed clinical therapist and addictions specialist, has 18 years in the field. She started Mental Chatter she says because, “I am seeing so many people suffering in silence because of the stigma associated with mental illness.”

Finding a way to reach out to those who didn’t have the strength to reach out for help was important she notes, because “I also wanted an outlet for everyone to reflect on their lives and look at things from a different perspective, and to learn things about themselves that they didn’t recognize.”

Additionally, she felt clients needed to learn things about others that will help them to be more compassionate and understanding of what others are going through. Mental Chatter provides that gateway, Boone says.

The Mental Chatter platform means many things according to Boone.

On the surface, it describes all of the thoughts that creep up in our minds that we cannot eliminate. It’s all of the conversations that we have with ourselves that cause us more harm than good. It’s the mindset that keeps you stuck. It’s how we talk ourselves out of being great.

But, Boone explains, it was her upbringing, surrounded by people who lived a life of service, that led her to create Mental Chatter. “The depth of it is that for me, Mental Chatter is a response to a calling from God. It is a continuation of a legacy. My whole life, I have been modeled how to be of service of others. From my grandparents, to my parents, and other family members, I witnessed a life of service.

“My grandfather, Reverend Dr. Clint F. Watson, embodied what it meant to serve others. Growing up, I can remember him always serving people. Whether it was the members of his congregation or a homeless person on the street, he served.

“He started a shelter called the Christian Rescue Mission where he, my grandmother, and my mother served those who were homeless, battling with addiction and mental illness, and those who were just in need of some help. He worked tirelessly to make sure that everyone he touched was helped in some way and many lives were blessed because of that.

I am an extension of that. I am a part of this great legacy and I would be remiss to not continue the work that he started.”

Boone has cast a wide net with Mental Chatter and anticipates great outcomes. Through the platform she hopes to reach people all across the world with her blog posts, podcasts, counseling and coaching sessions, and speaking at workshops and conferences.

“I want lives to be changed in some capacity and to be able to use the gift that God has given me to make a difference in a world where so many are suffering.”

She says her ultimate goal is to start a non-profit organization that will offer scholarships for those who cannot afford mental health and addiction services, sober living, and other forms of aftercare. “So many people are not being treated just because they cannot afford the services, or their insurance won’t cover what they need,” remarked Boone.

Creating a scholarship fund for adults who want to go back to school to further their education but can’t afford to be inundated with student loans or can’t bear the cost of those out of pocket expenses, is part of her long-range plans.

She acknowledges that there are many scholarships available for young people, but for the 40-something-year-olds like herself, they don’t exist. “I know because I am one of those people,” she says, adding, “I have many, many other ideas and will do my best to make it all come to fruition. Ultimately, I don’t want to leave any stone unturned and wherever I can meet a need I hope to do so.”

For services or to contact Boone for workshops and conferences, email her at beyondmentalchatter@gmail.com.

Also check out her blogs on the website at www.mentalchatter.com.

Her podcast can be accessed weekly on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Tune­In, Alexa, Google Home, and all other major podcast outlets. Be sure to subscribe, listen, share, and like the podcast!

Boone is Clinical Director at Recovery Works in Merrillville, an inpatient and intensive outpatient substance abuse program. Her private practice, KNB Counseling Services, provides traveling counseling services for clients at their chosen location.

Kimberly Boone holds a MA in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist (MATS). She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Psychology.

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