A Voice from the Field: Providing Compassionate, Person-Centered Care
October 6, 2020
When you meet Aleshia Collins, it doesn’t take long to learn that caring for people is her passion in life.
“I think I learned how to be a social worker when I was very young. My brother had stage 4 cancer, and my sister had cerebral palsy, so I grew up in a Ronald McDonald House. It was normal for me to help people and help them to figure out how to live full lives. I wasn’t going to let their cancer or disability defeat or define them.”
Aleshia is a case manager, meaning she works 1:1 with individuals living in the community to maintain stability and connect them to resources – both at People Incorporated and other community organizations – they need to maintain independent, community living. Aleshia collaborates with her clients to set goals for living the life they want.
“I truly think we as case managers change and save lives! I often ask my clients, “If everything in life was going perfect and you were living on cloud 9, what would that look like to you?” Many of them have never been asked a question like that before. It’s my job to help them dig deep and find the dreams and the life they want that has been hidden by mental illness,” says Aleshia.
As a person of color herself, Aleshia is also heavily immersed in changing the systemic barriers that prevent people of color from receiving equitable mental health treatment. As one of the co-leads of People Incorporated’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, she is passionate about her role in shaping a better mental health system for people of color.
“There is a lot of stigma in communities of color that someone who isn’t a person of color might not recognize. For example, I work with a lot of Black women who feel like talking about mental health is a taboo. They’re told they didn’t pray enough. If prayer and religion is a part of their life, I want them to continue doing that, but I can often ask “what else can we add that is going to help you feel better?” I want all the clients I work with to feel like they have an advocate in their corner that is going to help them live their life and maintain their autonomy. For these women, it might mean finding a therapist who is another person of color they can relate to, or maybe it’s an older therapist that reminds them of an elder in their community that they respect. They’re the experts in their own lives. I help them set goals and find the resources they need to achieve them.”
To learn more about People Incorporated’s equity work or our case management programming, please contact our gift officers.
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