The surprising secrets to mental health treatment
Do you or someone you know struggle with mental illness? Off the top of your head, the answer may be no, but mental illness often goes unknown and untreated in the US. It’s estimated that one in five adults struggle with mental illness with varying degrees of severity, and due to the stigma against treatment, many of these suffering people will go without any treatment or care. This statistic was taken in 2019, and undoubtedly as the pandemic resulted in over 114 million lost jobs and increased stress, these numbers have gone up tremendously.
The fact is, it’s far too difficult for people to get the mental health care they need in the US. Especially in marginalized communities where these mental health issues are even more common, the negative connotation that hangs over any kind of treatment is too strong for many to overcome. Most Americans wouldn’t even know where to begin searching for the help they need.
A possible solution to this dilemma isn’t actually very surprising: an increase in compassion and understanding in the mental healthcare industry. It seems all too obvious, but profit maximization and greed has led to a lack of empathy in an industry that needs it the most. Johnwick Nathan, a rising American CEO and entrepreneur, has been making headlines recently with his mental healthcare company Harbor Health Integrated Care, which is dedicated to the kind of empathy that is badly needed in America right now.
Born in Haiti and moving to the States when he was three, Johnwick Nathan never really expected to be a healthcare CEO one day. When he was young, he had a deep passion for religion, and just as deep a passion for music. Johnwick himself is no newcomer to hardship, perhaps the source of his empathy for people who are down on their luck, his family having little money as a child. “Our shower was so small If you bent over your butt would pop out of the shower and hit the wall. For us that was just life. That’s just what we had to deal with,” he said, recalling the experience of living with his sister in high school.
He moved to Indiana to study at a Bible college, but was forced to drop out shortly after due to a lack of funds. It was a stroke of bad luck, but it led to a pursuit of his other passion: music. Johnwick started a gospel music group with his sister called Arise, and released two EPs. This strengthened his love of music, and he moved to Arizona to study at CRAS Recording School in Tempe.
While studying, he started working as a behavioral health technician at a local group home for addicts and the mentally ill to make some extra money. He started the job to pay his tuition, but it led to a revelation that would change his life forever – “To be able to see a person change; that’s like watching a child be raised. When you have a child and he or she grows up and you’re like ‘man, I really did a great job,’” he said.
At the group home he found that you could make a living serving your community. He’d been a part of communities for his whole life, from his large family with five siblings, to his church community that inspired him to pursue his passions. Now he realized that he could find his own success while raising up his local community. “Doing that, it changed my life. And at that moment I said ‘you know what? I think this is what I want to do.’”
Johnwick founded his own group home in 2017, taking with him what he learned as a behavioral health technician. He found that most of his patients were members of Arizona’s indigineous population, referred from hospitals, parole offices, as well as reservations. The kinds of marginalized communities that suffered the most, were also frequently the most hesitant to receive treatment. Johnwick quickly gathered that the best way to serve these communities was to make them feel as welcome as possible. He made an effort to learn the native language of the indigineous people he served. Being greeted in their cultural tongue helped many people who would never have otherwise opened up to treatment get the help they need.
“It doesn’t matter to Mr. Nathan what position you hold. You’re human, you were made in love. You should be respected. You should have a sound mind, and a peaceful living”
Harbor Health COO Lydia Sanabria Alexander
Under the umbrella of Harbor Health, Johnwick now runs a series of group homes as well as psychiatric facilities and an inpatient detox program. A welcoming and non-judgemental attitude is the first tenet of every Harbor Health expansion, and it’s through these expansions that Johnwick himself became personally successful.
Johnwick believes that no matter how much money you have, it’s impossible to be truly successful if you don’t support your community. Since every expansion of his company is meant to serve a different need in his community, he has directly tied his own wealth to the prosperity of the people around him. For example, his new company Guillet Industries builds houses and provides loan and mortgage services. He founded the company when he realized that many of his outgoing patients had nowhere to go after their treatment. Guillet works with Harbor Health to provide outgoing patients with a place to live independently.
Johnwick’s latest venture is the Nathan Foundation – a charity organization that supports mental health care facilities around the world. As part of a business venture with the Nathan Foundation and Harbor Health, Johnwick traveled to Ghana, a country in the midst of a mental health crisis. He met with experts and officials to discuss the country’s struggling mental health care systems, and he made donations to existing mental health facilities to help them broaden their reach. He ingratiated himself to the local community in such a way that a Ghanaian tribe awarded him with the royal appellation of Nii Borlabi Tesaa I. He wears this title proudly, as evidence of the ways he is helping struggling communities across the globe.
Johnwick is back in the US now, continuing to spread his mental health programs and help local communities. He recently released his book, 12 Principles of Soulful Success, in the hopes that he can spread his positive attitudes about business and mental health to the greatest number of people.