This month, we are highlighting Black mental health and wellness professionals to shed light on Black history and current issues facing the Black community. We firmly believe that preventing mental health issues from turning into larger problems is a profoundly healing act. Finding a compassionate, relatable mental health or wellness expert can be part of an individual’s healing journey.
In this blog, we will hear from Dr. Lakeia Jones, the founder of AMRI Counseling Services in Milwaukee and Kenosha and author of U R It. Dr. Jones has an impressive list of professional credentials she puts to work in her clinical services. But as she shares in this blog, she also has deep empathy for the common issues we all share, no matter what our life circumstances.
“Many may think that as a mental health professional we have all the answers,” Dr. Jones writes. “I am here to tell you that’s not true. Many may also think that as a mental health professional we don’t experience everyday life issues. Unfortunately, that’s not true either. Many people think we can simply heal ourselves, our family and all of our friends. Well... that’s not true. The reality is, I experience some of the same issues as everyone else.”
Get to Know Dr. Lakeia Jones
Dr. Lakeia Jones, Ph.D., DSW, LPC, CSAC, CCTP, is a licensed psychotherapist, clinical substance abuse counselor, supervisor, speaker specializing in trauma, and author of the book titled U R It.
“I have been in the mental health and substance abuse field for over 20 years,” she writes. “I have always had a deep passion for helping others. After doing some in-depth research, I realized very quickly that understanding the way human mind works, helping those who deal with mental health related issues and alcohol/drug abuse concerns, was not only my passion but my calling.”
She achieved her bachelor's degree in psychology, master's degree in mental health, and two doctorate degrees in psychology and social work. In 2006, she opened AMRI Counseling Services (AMRI). AMRI is a WI state-licensed and certified clinic providing quality mental health/substance abuse counseling and family support to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families with 3 physical locations, 2 in Milwaukee, and 1 in Kenosha. In 2011, she established a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit agency AMRI Counseling & Family Services, Inc. to help raise funding and provide charitable care to those who are in need of mental health and substance abuse services but simply do not have the means to pay, the underserved and uninsured communities.
“Our Community Needs Us Now More than Ever”
Dr. Jones’ services fill a huge gap in our community. According to a Milwaukee County Community Health Needs Assessment by key stakeholders, behavioral health is the top health issue in Milwaukee. A major problem is lack of access to services, especially services provided by a Black mental health professional for Black clients.
“Millions of Americans are diagnosed yearly with a mental health disorder and continue to report not receiving the help they need,” Dr. Jones writes. “Mental health affects everyone regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or economic status.”
Lack of mental health and substance abuse help can have a devastating impact not only on an individual and their family, but the community as a whole.
“If we do not find ways to ensure these needs are meet, we will continue to see a significant rise in suicide, homicide and overall decrease in quality life for all, not just the person who is suffering,” she writes. “We are all affected by the effects of untreated mental health issues and substance abuse.
“That means that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we are aware of mental health issues early, before they become a crisis. Millions of Americans live healthy, happy, successful and loving lives while managing a mental health issue with the therapeutic care that is a right fit for them.
“My goal is to continue to find ways to decrease stigmas and increase access to quality mental health care and substance abuse services for all,” Dr. Jones states. “As I continue to help and assist future counselors by providing clinical teaching, supervision, training, internships and career opportunities, it is my desire to work and collaborate with other professionals, community entitles, individuals and families who are willing to help our community heal and ensure the work of mental health and substance abuse providers continue for generations and generations to come. Our community needs us now more than ever.”
“Yes, I Have a Counselor”
“My journey may sound quite familiar to some,” she writes. “I witnessed alcohol abuse, drug addiction and many mental health issues within the neighborhood I grew up in, family, friends and others around me throughout in my life. What I didn’t know or understand was the depth of what they were feeling or going through. I had a strong desire to want to see my family and friends feel better. If I had one wish it was always to make their problems, go away. I learned that I didn’t have that kind of control, but I could control myself, my actions, my choices and my thought process. As I got older, I wanted to ensure I kept focused on my personal and professional life missions.
“Many may think that as a mental health professional we have all the answers. I am here to tell you that’s not true. Many may also think that as a mental health professional we don’t experience everyday life issues. Unfortunately, that’s not true either. Many people think we can simply heal ourselves, our family and all of our friends. Well... that’s not true. The reality is, I experience some of the same issues as everyone else. I make mistakes like you. I feel things just like you. I grieve like you. I stress like you. I am human just like you.
“I always say a good counselor, has a counselor of her own. Yes, I have a counselor. What I realized is it is as important to take care of your mental health as you do your physical health. Through the stressors of the world, I knew having a good therapeutic relationship with my therapist is a critical piece to ensuring my mental health is good and I am my best self to others around me every single day.”
Get in Touch with Dr. Lakeia Jones
Dr. Lakeia Jones, Ph.D., DSW, LPC, CSAC, CCTP
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, Supervisor
*AMRI Counseling Services, LLC*
Providing Mental Health, Substance Abuse Counseling and Family Support Services to Children, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, and Families
*In person and Telehealth Counseling (Phone & Video)
-4001 W. Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216
-3536 W. Fond Du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53216
-6321 23rd Ave
Kenosha, WI 53143
Milwaukee Clinic: 414-455-3879
Kenosha Clinic: 262-671-1625
Direct Line: 414-455-3879 x801
Clinic Fax: 866-719-3024