Runners-Up: $5,000

Clarity Counseling Consultation and Wellness, LLC
I used to be a scared little girl in the 4th grade. So much so that I was about to be held back and my mother had to come to school with me and sit in the classroom so I would not fail. I struggled with severe separation anxiety and depression. I turned my pain into POWER and now I am a mental health counselor. I have become who I needed when I was little. I am no longer scared...I am empowered and work to empower others.
I opened Clarity El Paso in October 2019 right before the March 2020 COVID Shutdowns, so I closed my physical location and pivoted the entirety of my counseling services online and have served hundreds of people since then. After starting my practice, I felt liberated to use unique and novel means to spread mental health awareness. Now, with inflation and this economy, creativity and pivoting is still part of my formula for staying open and serving my community. Therapy groups, social emotional education, and training spread more mental health awareness and give me more creative freedom than trading dollars for one-hour services. Therapy is important, but mental health events give me and my community more bang for the buck. Even more importantly, teaching people how to release trauma from their bodies on social media, to playing therapeutic Candyland on YouTube, sharing Spotify self-care playlists, and interviewing counselors about their own mental health on my podcast all play a role in breaking the stigma in my Borderland community surrounding mental health. I also designed t-shirts spreading the message that "therapy is cool" because I want people everywhere to know that there is nothing wrong with seeking help when you need it!
Because of the low socioeconomic status of El Paso residents, most people in my area lack access to quality mental healthcare, adding to the stigma of mental health. Hosting low-cost groups and granting access to free online resources helps bridge gaps in my area to those who want to get started on their mental health journey. In this economy, free and low-cost services go a long way!
As a mental health counselor, trainer, speaker, and advocate with a personal lived experience with mental illness I work to reduce stigma and spread awareness about culturally sensitive practices with my quirky and candid approach. I want to make high quality mental health counseling and education financially accessible for people in my community. Now that the economy is adding extra emotional stress to my community, mental healthcare access is more important than ever. People can be driven to mental health crises because of economic circumstances, and in my provision of free/low-cost care, these crises can be prevented and managed.
El Paso is Spanish for "the Pass" and I hope I "PASS" your test of resilience, passion, and creativity for this grant. Thank you for your consideration.