For a therapist, the decision to leave the field doesn’t come easily.
Most of us know that the pandemic has taken a significant toll on people's mental health. Everyone from young kids who missed out on important socialization and learning during the lockdowns to older adults who experienced isolation, to teens, college students, young people just starting out in the world of work and parents … every slice of the population had legitimate struggles. Those seeking therapy were often left stranded due to long waitlists or difficulty finding a therapist that accepts their insurance. That's if they were lucky enough to get a callback.
Therapists themselves have become so overwhelmed and badly burned out that many have just thrown in the towel, and the situation continues to get worse. I was one of those therapists! Walking away was the hardest thing I’ve done because of how much I care about the people I help.
For a therapist, the decision to leave the field doesn’t come easily. By nature, many therapists are compassionate and empathetic people who truly care about their clients and the practice of mental health. For some therapists, walking away can be a choice between life and death. Therapists being pushed to the brink of suicide is not unheard of. Some even succeed in taking their own lives. I knew several therapists who ended their lives, and I was forced to push through the grief until finally the overwhelm became unmanageable. I felt guilty adding to the shortage of therapists, but something had to give.
Like everyone else, therapists have been hit by the pandemic and other tragic events such as mass shootings, but unlike everyone else they are expected to hold the fear and pain of every client they see on top of their own. Many therapists have their own therapists to help them carry the load. The number of therapists to go around just isn’t enough.
Currently there are approximately 530,000 therapists in the United States to serve a population of 330 million people. This number includes clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, licensed counselors and marriage and family therapists, and it also includes those who have left the profession but maintained their license. Obviously every person in America isn’t seeking therapy but it’s clear that there’s a disparity in numbers.
Therapists have to hold everyone else's pain on top of their own.Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash
The exodus from the profession is more than simply the high demands of clients. There are multiple factors, including the grind of dealing with insurance companies, many of which require therapists to jump through a lot of hoops to get paid. Insurance companies often reimburse therapists well below what their actual rate of service is, and insurance companies are notorious for doing “clawbacks,” which is essentially when they take money back. Clawbacks can be done for minor things like using a 60-minute code instead of a 45-minute code even though you spent a full hour with the client. Some insurance companies don’t feel that every diagnosis deserves a 60-minute session. There have been reports of clawbacks being tens of thousands of dollars and collected several years after the date of service.
Big box therapy providers have also come in the mix, promising better hours and more control over schedules, only for therapists to feel duped and exploited. Companies like Better Help and Talkspace offer low rates of pay and often require overscheduling for a therapist to be able to make a decent salary without them having to hold a second job.
All in all, therapists are just tired, and trying to figure out what’s best for themselves as well as their clients in that state is not enjoyable or rewarding. For those seeking mental health services, the outlook is a little bleak. Of course, it is possible to find a mental health professionals to help, but it generally takes a good measure of time and effort to find the right one.
Directories such as Therapy Den and Psychology Today are good places to look to find a local therapist who is accepting new clients. Then there's Therapy for Black Girls and Clinicians of Color specifically for people looking for a Black, Indigenous or POC therapist. If you’re uninsured or underinsured you can search for a therapist offering low-cost slots on Open Path Collective.
It's not a stretch to say that the current system is broken, and that negatively impacts both therapists and clients. Of course, there are new therapists joining the profession, and therapists who have taken a step away may well rejoin the profession after a much-needed break. Let's hope that these professionals are eager (again) to help shoulder the problems of the world.
"Just a day in the life."
How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.
The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.
Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”
The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.
Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.
As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”
Needless to say, people were impressed with Oakley’s fierce multitasking abilities.
“Tell me you're a super mom without telling me you're a super mom,” wrote one person.
Another added, “this was 100% the most badass, amazing, award deserving feat I have ever seen.”
To no one’s surprise, moms were finding the situation ultra relatable.
“I wish I could say I hadn’t run out mid breastfeed to save a chicken lol but that would be a lie,” one mom commented.
“My husband sent [this] to me and said hey look it’s you,” wrote another.
And perhaps the best comment of all:
“Girl I thought that was a water gun. Read the caption and realized it was a baby.”
Though she clearly wowed the internet, Oakley sees the entire fiasco as a mundane reality.
"It feels like an accomplishment, I suppose,'' she told TODAY, “but for me this was a day in the life."
And the winner for "Most Tasks Done In A Single Minute" goes to...Giphy
Not every mom has to save a pet goose from an eagle attack and breastfeed at the same time, but most mothers can relate to the almost comical, certainly never-ending juggling act that is parenting.
Roller-skating has long been a part of Black culture as a means of joy.
I can't roller-skate to save my life. It looks like so much fun—I've never seen people not look happy while roller-skating. There's the freedom to glide across the floor, even if it's only temporary, and it's such a good way to get out on the floor and move your body. What's not to love?
Brothers Marcus and Michael Griffin, also known as The Griffin Brothers, share videos of themselves roller-skating on TikTok and Instagram. In the videos, the pair performs synchronized skating moves to a variety of old-school hits (and more current ones), mostly at their local roller rink in Delaware. It's clear from the videos that the brothers get a great deal of joy out of roller-skating.
“As soon as you step on the floor, like, you ascend into another dimension and I think that's where the love comes from now,” Marcus Griffin told Good Morning America in an exclusive interview.
“It's not even about us anymore. It's about our supporters and the comments and the messages we get from people,” continued Marcus.
Those messages are nothing but overwhelmingly positive:
"I love watching your tik toks!! And I want to learn to skate!!"
"Just purchased my skates, I’m ready😁"
"You all make it look so easy."
"These videos so make my day.🌞🥰 I love it when they hit my feed.❤️❤️❤️"
"I have never wanted to go back to skating until I watched your videos. I remember being a little girl wishing I could groove on skates like those cool adults who's whooshed passed me with headphones and a Walkman while dancing. I am 46 years old and studying your feet to figure it all out lol... keep skating and bringing joy!!!"
Often wearing coordinating (or in some cases matching) outfits, the Griffin brothers tear up the rink with the smoothest moves. They clap, slap and perform other fun moves that keep the videos fresh and entertaining. Seriously, you can't watch just one video—it's like eating potato chips. The pure joy radiates through the screen.
“We're bringing back those old feelings that people had when they used to go skating, when they didn't have to worry about the bills, the houses, everything,” Marcus told GMA. “When they watch us, they get a certain joy in themselves, what they felt when they were younger, like when times were good, no pandemic, no mass shootings, no nothing. They don't think about that.”
Introduced to roller-skating by their mom as children, Marcus explained that they would spend their weekend nights at the roller rink, same as their mom before them. The Griffin Brothers may not realize this, but their roller-skating videos are part of a longstanding tradition in Black culture. A 2019 documentary "United Skates" digs deeper into how roller-skating has been and continues to be a large part of Black culture.
"We were trying to show the importance of roller rinks as community spaces … that were centerpieces for early civil rights battles—one of the first sit-ins in the country was a skate-in at a roller rink," Dyana Winkler, one of the filmmakers, told VICE in 2019.
The pandemic revived an interest in roller-skating. The Daily Beast reported that a viral skating video on TikTok by actress Ana Coto led to people becoming more interested in roller-skating. It stated that Coto cited Black roller-skaters as her inspiration as well.
@griffinbrothersskating Jam On This🛼👑 #TheGriffinBrothers#rollerskating#fyp#foryoupage#jamskating#rollerskating#rollerskate♬ Jam On It - Newcleus
It was during the pandemic that the Griffin Brothers saw interest in their skating videos grow as well. When one of their old videos started gaining rapid traction on YouTube, it inspired the brothers to head back to the rink. "I was like, Why did I stop skating? Why did I stop skating? And the love just came right back and then we finally made a video last year," Michael Griffin told GMA.
“We just want to bring joy and happiness to everybody who lays eyes on this,” Marcus Griffin added.And they definitely do!
"I hope she guides me to the best sales forever."
What makes a good obituary? First, it should probably reflect the essence of the recently deceased person in an authentic, honest light. Second, it should feel personal, showing how that person’s life affected the lives of others. Then, of course, the right dash of humor can certainly help spark joy in an otherwise solemn moment.
New York Times journalist Caity Weaver achieved all those things masterfully in a eulogy written for her mother—the coupon-clipping, chronically late, green-thumbed Dr. Maureen Brennan-Weaver.Caity clearly put her knack with words to good use, because her hilarious tribute quickly went viral on Twitter, leaving people not only with a good giggle, but a very precise picture of her mom.
Maureen was a mom and “rowdy aunt,” as well as a 6-foot-tall podiatrist and an “uncommonly caring” one at that.
According to Caity, Maureen “could not stop herself from buying shoes for patients if she spotted just what they needed while shopping … She categorically did not do house calls, except for patients she ‘really liked’; of these, there were so many she had to set aside whole days for house calls.” She even “occasionally accepted” baked goods as payment from her patients.
Maureen was as “pathologically generous” as she was frugal.
“When a young nephew wished for a plastic microscope, she found him a real one (at a great price) and painstakingly prepared hundreds of slides for his study.” She also “briefly employed a skilled housekeeper but found her a more lucrative job.” To this day, her family has access to a “huge box of toothbrushes” she purchased for pennies decades ago.
Truly nothing made Maureen more happy than “helping people, and anyone anywhere saving money,” Caity wrote.
In honor of her mother’s passion for gardening, Caity encouraged others to plant something in lieu of flowers, with a Maureen-worthy reminder that “garden centers mark perennials down to unbelievable prices in the fall.”
Incredibly smart, fearless and “riotously funny,” Maureen had a “cackle that crashed through rooms.” One that will clearly be missed. Her death might have been “shocking” as it was the first thing she was ever “ahead of schedule” on, but she leaves behind “enough toothbrushes and memories to last several lifetimes.”
Caity followed up the obituary with a few of her mom’s “greatest hits” previously tweeted:
I’m not going to repost all the tweets but you get the idea https://t.co/7JcEzHZMjA— Caity Weaver (@caityweaver) June 22, 2022
Oh this was a classic! https://t.co/NmjK4G44NV— Caity Weaver (@caityweaver) June 23, 2022
Caity’s touching and joyful memorial received tons of love from people, including fellow writers.
“I’m so so sorry that you’ve lost her. That obituary might be one of the most joyous things I’ve ever read, funny and tender and loving, what a brilliant person your mum was xx,” Jess McGuire commented
“I am so sorry for your loss. And for the whole world’s loss! Your mom sounds fabulous,” added Mindy Kaling.
You can read the obituary in its entirety below. Maureen, you are deeply loved by your “favorite child,” and now by all of us as well.
Got the worst news I’ve ever gotten last week. My mom and I made each other cry laughing all the time. I hate to think about all the deals she’s going to miss out on. I hope she guides me to the best sales forever. pic.twitter.com/dZoWdIu86C— Caity Weaver (@caityweaver) June 22, 2022