Avivo mental health professional appointed to task force focused on culturally informed and responsive mental health services

Ten years ago, when Bharati Acharya started as a mental health professional at Avivo, she took note that Avivo seemed to have a much more diverse staff than she’d seen at other institutions around the Twin Cities.

“When I walked into Avivo 10 years ago I was like ‘This is where I must be’,” shares Acharya. “I think the conversation we’re having now is bigger, louder, and more concrete than what we were having back then, but I saw quite a bit more representation from the beginning at Avivo and that’s what has kept me here.”

Acharya shares that having diverse staff at Avivo gives therapists an opportunity to really connect with people based on their cultural backgrounds.

“Some of our program participants might have some challenges feeling connected with people who don’t represent their own cultural background, so I think giving people the opportunity to connect with somebody who mirrors their background furthers the therapeutic process, whether we’re talking about mental health or substance use.”

Recently, Acharya was recognized at a state level for her work when she received an appointment to Minnesota’s new Culturally Informed and Culturally Responsive Mental Health Task Force.  The task force has four main goals: (1) recruiting mental health providers from diverse racial and ethnic communities; (2) training all mental health providers on cultural competency and cultural humility; (3) assessing the extent to which mental health provider organizations embrace diversity and demonstrate proficiency in culturally competent mental health treatment and services; and (4) increasing the number of mental health organizations owned, managed, or led by individuals who are Black, indigenous or people of color.

“When I work with program participants, we talk about particular personal, cultural practices that are important to them and how they could access those practices in the service of their healing,” shares Acharya. “People may see their culture as a source of strength and resilience, and I think it’s so important for our clients to understand this is right. This is where you come from.”

“Members of the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, who selected me to be a representative of this state-wide task force, know that addressing diverse populations and their needs has been a professional commitment of mine throughout my career,” shares Acharya. “I love my clinical work at Avivo, and I feel like that’s part of why I’m here on this planet.”

Bharati Acharya, MA, LPCC, Diplomate Narrative Therapy, currently works as a mental health professional at Avivo, serving for more than 10 years.

Learn more about how Avivo is working toward building a workforce that increases the diversity of mental health staff.