OMAHA, Nebraska – People and communities experience a mental toll when there is a string of homicides or shootings in close succession.
“It causes suffering, and we have no choice but to confront the issue. According to Tamika Mease, executive director of North Omaha Community Partnership, the most effective approach to dealing with it is through mental and behavioral health.
Therapy is one method that can be used to cope. Bridge the Gap helps reduce obstacles for those seeking mental health therapy. This covers the expense, the wait time, and the stigma associated with it. The North Omaha Community Partnership is responsible for developing this cost-free therapeutic program.
“[During the spring], there were approximately ten people who signed up to take part. And in the past week and a half, while it’s not quite been two weeks yet, we’ve added almost thirty more. ”
It is the organization’s goal to provide care that is both prompt and free. Oshea Heard was motivated to participate in the program as a result of this factor.
It was just a few weeks ago when he made his initial visit to the therapist. However, this was not the first time he had sought assistance at other clinics in the past.
“I went through hoops upon hoops, and I was unable to get in touch with anyone for days. After that, I basically forgot about it for a very long period,” Heard explained.
He was born in Chicago and currently resides in North Omaha. He is 26 years old. He was unable to secure an appointment with other therapists in a timely manner, which is when he learned about the Bridge the Gap program.
I was able to get my appointment in this manner, which is how 24-hour appointments work. It has wonderful residents. Since a lot of people in our community do not have the financial means to purchase it, I truly believe that having access to it would be beneficial.
Loss is something that Heard must contend with, just like everyone other in North Omaha, just like everyone else.
You don’t have time to mourn the passing of loved ones when they come one after another after another after another. I’ve had friends die from suicide, from murders, from automobile accidents. Because one thing follows another immediately after another, it is challenging. I can assure you that my high school did not have anything worthwhile to offer.”
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and one Omaha organization is helping to meet the need for free mental health services in the local community.
The counseling provided by Bridge the Gap is provided at no cost to participants as a result of community relationships such as those with Capstone Behavioral Health, which provide interns for the program.
They are able to accrue more clinical hours, which is a requirement for obtaining their license. In addition, there are practically no expenses involved, which is a huge assistance to us. “And it helps our participants because they can get the treatment that they need in a timely manner,” said Mease. “And it helps our participants because it benefits our participants.”
Mease is also aware that discussing issues related to one’s mental health can be seen as stigmatizing in some cultures.
She stated that “we’re trying to normalize the conversation and normalize getting the help and not waiting until there’s a crisis scenario or until it gets so awful.” “We’re trying to normalize the conversation and normalize getting the help and not waiting until it gets so bad.”
According to Heard, “There is a stigma associated with going to therapy in the Black community.”
However, after only a few sessions, Heard is beginning to realize how therapy might benefit him both in the now and in the future.
Although I do not yet have children of my own, when the time comes that I do, I do not want them to go through the same kinds of difficulties that I had.