Here's Part 2 of our interview with Laura - she digs into the details on the new non-profit organization, JUST US; We All Struggle Inc. (JUST US), has some advice on starting a business, and she looks to the future.
You can read part one, from last week, here. Q: Why did you start a non-profit organization? Laura: We want to vastly increase our ability to keep up with the mental health needs of our community and transform the understanding of and access to mental health support. By founding our new non-profit, JUST US Inc., a board-governed, charitable, non-profit organization, we now have a dedicated organization to manage our low-cost and free counselling programs and focus on the strategy and fundraising needed to improve and expand these important programs - so that everyone who needs mental health counselling can have access to it, regardless of their financial situation.
We want to make a visit to a therapist feel as normal as going to the dentist. And we want to ensure continuity of care for clients who need financial subsidies - so they can maintain their therapeutic relationships regardless of finances.
I’m excited about what we can accomplish knowing our talented board is led by John Eisner who has over 30 years experience in the non-profit sector. Thank you John - your sense of social responsibility is so inspiring! John and the entire board believe in our vision & mission and have all stepped up to help.
Q: What has surprised you the most this year?
Laura: I was so thankful to see so many people, on our team and our board of directors, stand with me, share the same vision, and be so excited to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Everyone is impacted by mental health and everyone has a story that brought them to be involved. Many of the people involved in our mission & vision began as clients. They know, first hand, the importance of proactive mental health care.
Our humanness shows up and bonds us when we work together as a team to fight the stigma of mental health and work towards making a real difference. My own humanness was very much on the surface this year as I experienced significant struggle with my own mental health, as we all do at times. I experienced separation with 3 young children. I am so grateful to have the resources around me (including a therapist!) to help me navigate this challenging time in my life. We're working on making these resources available to everyone.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone venturing into starting a business? Laura: It’s not easy but it’s fulfilling. It is hard to set boundaries around it. And it will change who you are. Some days you will feel like you can’t breathe. You have to have thick skin because you'll get criticism from many. Stay true to your vision and mission and don’t get sidetracked by all the noise. You have to learn to trust in yourself. This is a journey and a lifelong process, I am learning.
We work hard to be a therapy practice that does common things uncommonly well. We try and fail all the time, but we never settle. Businesses can be the greatest force for change in the world and are vital for the future of our society, far and wide. I have learned there is no limit to the human capacity of motivated people...there is so much opportunity in the world to do good if you look for it and can keep riding the waves of the challenges without getting too thrown off course. You can do hard things!
A colleague told me something recently that stuck with me: Success is never owned. It’s rented. And rent is due everyday!
Q: What's coming in the next year?
Laura: I see even more people getting the mental health care that they need, thanks to the continued and growing support from our community, from the supportive team at Laura Gatien & Associates and the new board of directors at JUST US Inc, who work hard every day to help people get access to the mental health help they need. I plan to continue to build awareness around opportunities for everyone to help in our vision - to bring affordable and accessible mental health care to all - my passion. The sky is the limit!
~ Laura, Clinical Therapist
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