KISH: Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alphonso Nathan and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I am Vice President of Brightside Counseling and Co-Owner of Brightside Medical Associates in Pennsylvania. I advocate for mental health for the black and brown communities because there is a huge stigma that deters people in these communities from getting the help that they need. On the professional side, I advocate for more representation in the mental health field. I was the only black male in my graduating class of 250 in college. People need to see people that look like them in the mental health community. I work with 2 organizations that are furthering this agenda, Black Men Heal, part of Charlamagne Tha God’s Mental Wealth Alliance, here in the Philadelphia area and The Boris L. Henson Foundation, founded by Taraji P. Henson.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Alphonso: My definition for success is leaving behind a legacy that I am proud of. My dream is to have a memorable legacy that is long-lasting, and that mental health will continue to be de-stigmatized and accessible for everyone. Also, there will be growth in the representation for people of color in the mental health profession. Overall, I hope that one day mental health will be depicted as important as physical health is to society.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Alphonso: I went to a boarding school for underprivileged youth. That experience made me realize the importance of intervention. At that moment, I wanted to spend my life helping others change their lives.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
Alphonso: Not enough representation. When I began in this field, there weren’t too many black men like me. There were a lot of individuals that discouraged me from following through because they didn’t see it as a “black career choice”.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
Alphonso: My mother has always inspired me. She continues to be my cheerleader. My wife as well continues to push me forward. She is so flexible and understands my overwhelming schedule at times. The key is to surround yourself with positive people because energy transfers.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Alphonso: Dream big! Dream bigger. Don’t let anyone delay your dream. Your dream is yours. You deserve it.