The Healing Justice Collective (HJC), launched in February 2023, connects current and previous Y-WE participants to mission-aligned mental health and wellness practitioners and covers the cost of those resources. We are building a network of trusted providers for our young people, including:
The HJC was built in response to the increasing mental health challenges affecting our young people. We know that BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) and QT (queer, trans) youth in divested communities face both the highest rates of mental health challenges alongside the highest barriers to affirming mental health care. Over the years, Y-WE has demonstrated a commitment to centering & uplifting youth who live at the intersections of these identities. To support the emerging needs of Y-WE participants, the HJC centers the healing and advocacy needs of low-income QT/BIPOC youth. Eventually, practitioners will include a range of therapeutic support which includes but is not limited to traditional therapy (i.e. alternative pathways to healing like sound healing, reiki, healing justice facilitation and arts-based practice, for example).
“I think a lot of people are convinced that something like therapy is not for them, that wellness isn’t for them, that those things are for people who have access to it, the means to pay for it, and the spaciousness to slow down and participate in it. My hope is that this creates a sense of hopefulness and reassurance that there are people who are looking out for these young people.”-Shaena Spoor, the founder of Y-WE’s Healing Justice Collective
The practitioners we partner with hold slots specifically for our youth and alumni so that we can offer direct referrals. This minimizes the run-around for youth, caregivers and staff and offers the confidence of knowing these practitioners share our values. This also lowers the limitations imposed by insurance companies/medicaid and, of course, out-of-pocket cost. This program requires low-barrier, minimal paperwork and responds to the needs/wants of young people seeking mental health support. In a field that is also highly inaccessible and expensive to work in, we also prioritize adequately paying BIPOC healers (who are often exhausted and overwhelmed) and uplifting their work.
We are covering the cost of 12 sessions for young people, directly paying the provider. Youth can stop at any time and still have access to wellness services at Y-WE. Youth have agency over what information is shared between provider and Y-WE. After the 12 sessions a continuation stipend is available.
Our goal is to grow our network of providers, cover more sessions, and expand the impact of this work. If you would like to support the continuation of the Healing Justice Collective, please consider making a donation.
Healing justice is a term that was coined by the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective. They describe themselves as a “network of grassroots energy, body, and earth based healers and health practitioners seeking to create mechanisms for wellness and safety that respond, intervene, and transform conditions of generational trauma and violence in our communities and movements.” Healing justice as a framework makes the explicit connection to healing being something that’s a deeply political thing. Understanding that the root conditions of so much trauma and health inequity and inequity to mental health care and pathways to healing are systemically created by violent structures that are governed by white supremacy and capitalism.
“I am scared to open up and talk about mental health with people I just met because I am scared of judgement. In general I felt like being in person at Y-WE programs felt like a safe space to go to”-Y-WE Participant
Read more about the impacts of this collective and Y-WE’s Wellness programming here.
If you are a current or previous Y-WE participant who is interested in accessing these resources, please reach out to Shaena Spoor, our Community Wellness and Mental Health Specialist!