BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illness is a condition affecting nearly 1 in 5 Americans. With increased media attention shedding light on its effects on the larger community, one local woman is making strides to provide services for those in need and breaking down barriers along the way.
A trailblazer, that’s Niesha Davis. She’s a Bakersfield native who made a commitment at a very young age to improving the lives of the people in her community.
Davis said “As an adolescent I’ve always had a desire to help people, and it seemed like people were always drawn to me, so I was just kind of like people’s therapist.”
That desire to help people has grown into much more. Davis is a licensed clinical social worker who owns one mental health clinic in Bakersfield, and is preparing to open her second tomorrow, providing the community with additional support and resources.
“I’m just really excited because we’re going to provide additional services, we’ll be able to provide more groups, we’ll be able to provide more individual family and group counseling.”
A significant part of Davis’s commitment to her community is treating those who cannot afford care. Next month, she’ll launch the “Inspire My Mental Health” campaign, allowing the community to pitch in to offer help to those in need.
For Davis, the grand opening of her second location means much more than a new business in town. As the first African American woman in Kern County to own multiple mental health clinics, she hopes to pave the way for the future therapists of tomorrow.
Davis says she feels proud to make an impact on the people in the community she calls home. She says it’s okay to admit you’re not okay and encourages anyone struggling to speak with someone.