Southeast Fort Wayne nonprofit aims to give mental health access to those lacking resources

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A local couple made it their mission to serve the community by providing mental therapy for those who lack the resources to gain access to treatment.

Janell and Aaron Lane,
founders of Courageous Healing Inc.

Janell and Aaron Lane, two residents raised in the southeast of Fort Wayne, founded Courageous Healing in 2014. The organization started off as for-profit, but after noticing people in their community struggled with access to treatment, they decided to transition into a nonprofit.

“This is so much bigger than us,” said Janell Lane. “Today we are talking about Courageous Healing but this isn’t about Courageous Healing. This is about populations of color having access to mental health services and support that feels authentic to them.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, rates of depression are lower in Blacks and Hispanics compared to whites. The difference is, mental illness is more likely to continue in minority groups because of the “barriers to care.”

The American Psychiatric Association listed these as the most common barriers associated to minority groups:

  • The stigma associated with mental illness
  • Distrust of the health care system
  • Lack of providers from diverse ethnic backgrounds
  • Lack of culturally competent providers
  • Lack of insurance

Lane explained to WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that Courageous Healing’s mission is to tackle the barriers that many minorities face when seeking mental health therapy.

“There may be barriers financially, insurance barriers you need to have solutions in place to help overcome those barriers,” said Lane.

Another barrier is time.

“If you are a single mom and you are working around the clock and you don’t have support, when do you go to counseling,” asked Lane. “They might not have two parents in the home. They might not have extra support systems; this is not all populations of color but we know populations of color tend to live in concentrated areas.” 

Because time is so precious, Courageous Healing uses a two-day intensive session. It is designed for people who cannot commit a long period of time to therapy. According to Lane, the process jump starts the brain to healing, so afterward the process continues to work overtime to allow the brain to heal.

One of the main techniques used in this session is the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing technique. EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

“It really helps to flush trauma that feels stuck. Many people who experience trauma will report feeling stuck or feel like they can’t get beyond this trauma,” said Lane. “Or every time they think about the trauma, they re-experienced it.” 

One mother benefited from the program. On New Year’s Eve of 2018, Latoya Triggs received a phone call from her mother with the news that her oldest son was murdered while out shopping with his high school sweetheart.

“He is what we called the life of the party, beautiful smile, very outgoing personality,” said Triggs.

Broken, hopeless, and suicidal are words Triggs used to describe her life after her son was taken from her.   

“When I can’t smile and I am constantly upset, I can’t parent or love my other children, and I am in a room with people and not able to know what’s going on, and that’s a problem,”  said Triggs.    

Tired of the way her life was headed, and wanting to move forward, Triggs sought the help of Courageous Healing. She said it was rare for her to find people that she could trust. Not only people she could trust, but people of her ethnic background and culture.

“Coming in, not having any trust, or having any hope or feeling broken, not knowing what to think or what you are going to do,” explained Triggs. “It is a new way for me to find a new norm for life, that is what courageous healing is for me.” 

Triggs said the reason the process worked for her was because she felt it was time for her to heal. She said a person has to have dedication for the treatment to work.

“It was on a Friday evening and an early Saturday morning, so you had to be willing and ready because who wants to dedicate a Friday night to therapy?” laughed Triggs.     

With the current climate of the nation, the Lanes now host Courageous Conversations on the Courageous Facebook page.

Lane emphasized that Courageous Healing specializes in mental health services for people of color, but will serve anyone. Sessions are culturally driven.

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