In April 2019, Jordan knew that he needed to make a change in his life by seeking mental health support. He decided to talk with his primary care doctor at The Dimock Center about possible steps that he could take to overcome his battle with depression. A resident of Jamaica Plain who had been receiving care at Dimock for several years, Jordan knew that Dimock was the right place for him to begin this new chapter in his life.
As an African-American male who grew up in a religiously observant environment, Jordan was always told that he didn’t need professional help for his feelings of anxiety and depression, and never felt supported in his decision to seek further help. Although he was brought up this way, Jordan knew deep down that these feelings were not normal and that he needed to seek therapy to live a healthier life.
Jordan now regularly meets with his Dimock Behavioral Health Therapist, Jackie Fickes, LCSW, and has seen significant improvement in his overall mood and way of life. He is particularly grateful for Jackie’s tremendous support in helping him overcome the challenges that he has faced. “Jackie is very attentive and does a really good job of following up, even on small things, and challenges me to think,” Jordan shared. “I have a tendency to put myself down and not be in a place where I can talk. She’s helped me to really pull out of that, which is amazing.”
The praise has been reciprocated by Jackie, who says that Jordan is “one of the most valued people I have encountered and he really holds himself accountable. He pushes himself to grow and is very collaborative in his treatment by looking at things from different angles and working hard to grow.”
Although Behavioral Healthcare at Dimock has shifted from in-person visits to telehealth, staff and patients like Jackie and Jordan have remained dedicated to their work together and are finding creative ways to navigate through this pandemic time. Jackie notes that “a significant part of therapy is sharing a physical space with someone. Having, and having a designated space where it is safe to share and talk through things virtually, may not always be available for all patients. We help patients think about safe places at home or elsewhere, for them to be while undergoing therapy via phone. And we empower patients, and making them feel empowered to let us know when they are uncomfortable or need to reschedule for another time.”
Although this adjustment has been a little strange and often difficult, Jordan has remained optimistic. He appreciates how “even during COVID-19, I still have the ability to talk and continue on the plan that I have. I don’t have to navigate this alone.”
During this incredibly difficult and uncertain time, Jackie states the importance of continued Behavioral Healthcare and its significance within our communities. “It is vital due to the heightened feelings of anxiety, depression, lack of control, and all of the physical and emotional challenges that can arise because of those feelings. Issues surrounding health inequities and the disproportionate impacts that this virus has caused continue to place many patients in a constant state of worry and fear.” Jackie notes that inequality has been greatly highlighted, especially in terms of who has privileges and benefits for work, healthcare, resource access, and home safety. These only exacerbate the disparities in people’s ability to remain physically and emotionally healthy and safe.
As an African-American man challenged with depression, Jordan fully understands these challenges and inequities. He is grateful to Dimock for our continued care for himself and patients like him. “Dimock’s care has shown me that equality in healthcare is possible. It is not something that is out of reach; it is achievable. When you see health centers like Dimock who are standing on the frontlines of diversity, you know that you are in good hands.”
As new challenges in life arise, Jordan is not alone. He has the ongoing support of Jackie and his entire medical team at Dimock. While Jordan continues to focus on his own mental health, he remains committed to caring for others as well. “This pandemic has amplified his values around caring for others, said Jackie. He is always checking in with other people and making sure that everyone else okay and is coping well during this challenging time.”
Dimock has provided Jordan with the high quality care that he needed, and he hopes others have the chance to experience the Dimock difference as well.
“Mental health is not really taken seriously specifically within the African American community, so I continue to share my own experience with those who have struggled with depression to help others get the best care possible.” We are honored to support Jordan on his journey and grateful for all he does to promote the importance of strong mental health to others in the community.