Sharing Expertise To Help Others: Collaboration Supports Black and African Communities in Boston
January 25, 2024
Teaming up for a first-of-its-kind conference, McLean Hospital’s Education Outreach team and Women of Purpose International (WOPI-Boston International), an organization that empowers African immigrants, hosted a three-day mental health conference aimed at providing mental health outreach to Black and African communities in the Greater Boston area.
My Mental Health Matters is the brainchild of Dorothy Ssebakka, RN, who began her career at McLean in 2000—a year after she immigrated to the United States from Uganda.
She began as a mental health specialist and went on to nursing school. Since 2008, she has been a registered nurse at the hospital, where she currently works in The Pavilion and the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute.
Ssebakka is also a minister and the founder of WOPI-Boston International, an organization that empowers African immigrants as they settle into their new homes in the U.S.
Because of her different roles, Ssebakka is in a unique position to understand the mental health concerns of Boston’s African community and connect people to resources.
Ssebakka is often seen as a trusted resource, with friends and neighbors regularly approaching her with questions about mental health. Some of her expertise comes from personal experience.
“Back home when I was living there, we lost a brother through suicide years ago,” Ssebakka said. “It was not until later, after I started working here at McLean, that I realized the impact untreated mental health can have on someone.”