Many employees at Therapy Brands have a personal connection to mental and behavioral health. This series highlights why helping providers matters to them.
Meet Amy Greene
Amy Greene started working at Therapy Brands in May of 2022. She’s an Account Executive for TheraNest, where she helps users find add-ons like Revenue Cycle Management to grow their practice. Amy is currently learning more about TheraNest to eventually highlight how it can benefit mental and behavioral health practitioners. She enjoys working with and learning from her close-knit team.
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But the most rewarding part of her job is to help counselors save time and grow their practice using TheraNest. “When I work with mental and behavioral health counselors, I thoroughly enjoy that. Being able to help them when they realize they need help is really rewarding.” Amy frequently works with counselors outside work because of her non-profit suicide prevention foundation, Love Like Reed.
A Deeply Personal Connection
Amy tragically lost her son Reed to suicide 4.5 years ago. In May 2019, she decided to start Love Like Reed to raise funds in her Atlanta community for suicidal children and teenagers who cannot afford counseling. The first fund-raising event was a 5K run at Reed’s high school and was well attended. Wanting to keep that momentum going, Amy and Love Like Reed managed to raise over $15K from races and donations. The race is now happening in a Peach Tree Certified Course, which attracts many serious runners who seek to qualify for the Peach Tree 10K Run.
If you or someone you know are experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. You can also chat with them at https://988lifeline.org/chat. También está disponible en español.
Love Like Reed started with one counseling center. They’re now up to 7 and hope to keep expanding their reach in Atlanta and even outside of Georgia, though Amy notes it’s important to her that funds raised in her community benefit people in that same community. In addition to counseling centers, Love Like Reed works with 31 schools, with multiple counselors at each school. They all know about the foundation and can refer kids to Amy or partners in counseling centers.
The nonprofit also works with the Cherokee County Coalition for suicide prevention, a group of volunteers who meet monthly, donate, and run another 5K. On a personal note, Amy also donates to any fundraiser she runs into that works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Love Like Reed
Love Like Reed has impacted many lives, and Amy says that phone calls from the foundation saying they saved a student’s life make it all worth it. The nonprofit has mostly grown from word-of-mouth throughout the community. Amy wants to keep expanding to reach more students in crisis who need help but can’t afford to get counseling.
To qualify for funding, children must have financial needs and suicide ideation or self-harm. Amy explains that the foundation focuses on students in crisis, not general mental health care. The idea is to make an immediate impact that could save or change a life.
Love Like Reed aims to break down barriers to mental and behavioral health care for people in times of crisis. While many people struggle to afford therapy, other problems can prevent them from getting the help they need. Time can be an issue. When a child experiences suicidal tendencies, waiting 6 weeks for an appointment is not an option.
Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Health Care
While the conversation around mental and behavioral health is more visible than ever, the stigma remains, even for young people. Often, Amy explains, individuals aren’t willing to tell people they’re hurting. That’s why Love Like Reed’s motto is “It’s okay not to be okay”. Beyond general conversations about mental health, she wants to normalize the fact that sometimes, people experience a crisis, that it may not go back to normal quickly or easily, and that it’s acceptable. Amy and the foundation work hard to spread that message and make sure people believe it. While it’s easy to talk about mental health, Love Like Reed wants to change people’s mindset so they truly feel like they can open up in a time of need.
Another barrier to seeking help during a crisis is the age bracket Love Like Reed works with. The nonprofit works with elementary, middle, and high school students. And it may be shocking for some people, but most of the children she helps are younger than high school students. While people understand that teenagers often battle mental health, they don’t realize how early some of these problems can arise.
Hand in hand with financial problems and age stigmas is the issue of transportation. Some people cannot find transportation to a local counselor or don’t even have access to it. Telehealth can help counselors reach out to young clients and break down the barriers to accessibility.
While some therapists are slow to adopt telehealth because of issues like body language, others find that young people can be more open with the screen as a barrier.
Amy does caution that it depends on the individual’s situation. She points out that because of the stigma, some kids will see counselors hours away from where they live to avoid running into anyone they know, so conducting sessions under the same roof as their family can be challenging.
If You’re Inspired and Want to Start a Foundation
Amy didn’t have a plan. She just wanted to help others. She recommends forming a board before going too far down the road; a lot goes into creating and managing nonprofit foundations, particularly if you’re working full-time like Amy. She especially says you should consider making friends with people who know more than you do about mental illness and health care to help you. “Surround yourself with people smarter than you” is how she puts it.
Helping People During a Mental Health Crisis
Amy stresses that she is not a counselor and that people work and study their entire lives and still struggle to help others. She highlights that everyone responds differently, but the best thing you can do is talk to them as much as possible. Be available, be there to talk, and don’t judge. Don’t forget to check on people who seem to have everything together. We often stereotype people with mental health issues, but in Amy’s experience, sometimes the people who never seem to struggle need the most help.
What’s Your Why?
Through her work with Love Like Reed, Amy has seen how important the role of mental health counselors is. They change and save lives. But there aren’t nearly enough of them to meet the growing demand. And the counselors that are available don’t have nearly enough time in the day to help everyone that needs them, even though plenty of them see more clients than they should. Many individuals cannot afford mental health care even if they could access a counselor. And the counselors themselves struggle with burnout, limited funding, and even getting enough money to get by.
When Amy started at TheraNest, she thought she was simply selling software. But now, she sees her team’s impact on a counselor’s workload. By giving mental and behavioral health professionals access to solutions that save time, she can help them offer their services to more people to offset mental health care challenges. “Anything we can do to support the counselors, help them generate more revenue, help them save time so they can possibly see more patients.” If a counselor gets enough time to see even a single additional client, in Amy’s book, it’s a person whose life could be changed or saved. And that makes all the difference.