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SimplePractice Launches Mentorship Program to Encourage Connection in the Mental Health Community

SimplePractice, an EngageSmart solution and industry-leading platform simplifying the health and wellness experience for more than 160,000 solo and small-group practitioners, announced the launch of a mentorship pilot program during Women’s History Month. The program aims to bring practitioners across the industry together to create deeper connections and community with peers in the field. The pilot program was inspired by SimplePractice’s survey of more than 900 mental health practitioners—revealing a deep need for this service in the mental health industry.

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“As a woman of color transitioning into a non-diverse arena was challenging. Having Prerna to relate to—and collaborate with—as a fellow woman of color was critical”

Now more than ever, the mental health industry has reached a tipping point. There is a massive shortage of mental health professionals to meet the growing mental services demand. This shortage in the field has led to increased burnout. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly half (45%) of psychologists agreed or strongly agreed they felt burned out in 2022. There is a critical need for resources that connect practitioners with peer support to reduce feelings of isolation and burnout.

“Mental health practitioners are facing the national mental health crisis with heightened levels of burnout. To drive a greater sense of community, SimplePractice created a mentorship program to increase support and belonging for practitioners,” said Smita Wadhawan, Chief Marketing Officer, SimplePractice. “Practitioners are at the forefront of making an impact in driving positive outcomes for their clients but many feel alone and isolated. Mentors can act as sounding boards and oftentimes provide just the right nudge or pat on the back that keeps providers going. I’m hopeful that the SimplePractice mentorship program can validate the experiences of all mental health practitioners.”

In the SimplePractice survey, mental health practitioners were asked about their experience with mentorship. Respondents to the survey were majority female (81%) with 14% identifying as male and the remaining practitioners identifying as non-binary, other and preferring not to disclose (6%). Of the female respondents, 68% identify as white females and 32% as BIPOC females. Among female respondents, 77% agreed mentorships were critical to success in their careers.

Time and Resources Are Major Setbacks in Mentorship

Close to half of practitioners noted time as a barrier to connecting with a mentor. Survey respondents highlighted a lack of awareness of mentorship programs. Mental health practitioners also shared how costs are a major factor in mentorship programs with some charging an annual $1,500 fee.

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Identity Matters and There’s a Lack of Representation in the Field

The mental health field is dominated by white practitioners who make up 73% of the population, with BIPOC practitioners making up a little more than 20%. The SimplePractice female survey participants represent slightly more diversity than the national average—with 68% white female and 32% BIPOC female practitioners. 83% of Black practitioners who responded to the survey noted that identity is important when selecting a mentor. The sentiment was the same for 57% of American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and multiple ethnicity respondents.

Valeri Trezise, CEO at Be Still Psychotherapy, and Prerna Rao, MA, LMFT—both SimplePractice customers—have a strong mentor relationship, and they both noted how impactful cultural background is in their work. “As a woman of color transitioning into a non-diverse arena was challenging. Having Prerna to relate to—and collaborate with—as a fellow woman of color was critical,” says Trezise. “Understanding each other’s backgrounds and the backgrounds of our clients enabled me to feel more comfortable in talking about issues and opened up more possibilities to help my patients. This relationship was an integral part in the development of my values and the lens I see through as I provide mental health care in my own private practice setting.”

Mentorships Can Hugely Benefit the Mental Health Industry

SimplePractice survey respondents noted that mentorship programs can validate, encourage, and inspire them in their professional work—with 75% of practitioners agreeing mentorships are critical to success in their career. The survey respondents highlight the impact that practitioners from different ethnic backgrounds can have on their own practice—serving as an opportunity to learn new things about different cultures.

The SimplePractice mentorship program will first launch in California and is open to all health and wellness practitioners and those currently in school to become practitioners.

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