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Meet Cecille Ahrens | Psychotherapist, Entrepreneur, Host, Mental Health Advocate

We’re so pumped about our conversation with Cecille Ahrens. Cecille is a Psychotherapist, Entrepreneur, Host, Mental Health Advocate and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Cecille below.

Hi Cecille, so great to have you join us again. For folks who might have missed our earlier conversations, can you please take a minute to briefly introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Cecille Ahrens and I am a passionate, silly human who loves to have fun while pursuing life goals. I love nature and I love life. I am a wife and mom and also a psychotherapist who specializes in trauma recovery. I founded Transcend Therapy, Inc. (private practice), Get Mental Podcast and recently, a mental health non-profit agency called Papillon Wellness, Inc.

Why are you so passionate about mental health awareness and destigmatization?
My passion comes from a deep sense of humanity and respect for the human condition. My experience is that people don’t seek mental health support until things are worse, and sometimes until the situation is irreversible. I think a big part of that is the stigma and the misperceptions around mental health. My hope is that people seek help at the earlier stages of the pain process. Which could mean breaking or at least disrupting generation cycles of trauma and dysfunction.

It is important that we continue to normalize conversations about mental health, the way we do medical issues such breast cancer or ALS for example. Why are mental health conditions treated or perceived differently? I believe through education and through the power of media, we can meaningfully address the sense of isolation, confusion, shame and anxiety people feel when thinking about asking for help or getting support.

What inspired you to start your own nonprofit, Papillon Wellness Inc.?
Mental health has not been a part of our construct of overall health for the longest time. Additionally, the model of care for mental health issues has been largely pathologizing and de-stigmatizing. The limitations and harm of this model fueled my desire to start a non-profit mental health agency. The goal of Papillon is to change the way we conceptualize mental health-related problems and improve the service delivery model. Papillon will not require people to meet criteria for a specific diagnosis, which means people who are at the beginning stages of their condition or circumstance do not have to wait for things to get worse in order to qualify for services. Papillon will also provide services to middle-income folks who meet certain criteria, which is a new concept in the non-profit sector. This comes from a place of knowing how much middle-income earners fall in the grey when it comes to being able to access health care services, ranging from having a high deductible to belonging to an income bracket that does not accurately reflect the level of expenses for that particular person or family, which unfairly disqualifies them from services they may truly need. Another factor that makes Papillon unique is that we will assign a Primary Mental Health Provider (PMHP) to each client. This is similar to the way a Primary Care Physician (PCP) functions in that they will have the role of providing annual mental health check-ups and provide psychological testing when appropriate, providing resources and additional supports whenever clinically appropriate. I believe this is one of the ways we can truly be proactive and be able to offer and provide the necessary education and interventions throughout a person’s life span.

Tell us about your podcast, Get Mental. What is it about and why should people listen?
Get Mental is a podcast I started in 2019 that talks about all things mental health. It came from a place of pain and anger during a time when the mass shootings of our school children seemed to happening one after another. As a mother, I felt compelled to act and do something to be part of the solution. So, I decided to start a radio talk show on mental health. It was a bold, ambitious and expensive move but my husband and I believed in the cause so much that we were willing to take the plunge. That’s right, Get Mental started out as a radio show first then we added the podcast version of the show a few weeks after we started on the radio. I really wanted to use the power of the media to normalize conversations about mental health, humanize people, cultivate empathy and compassion as well as provide quality mental health information. Fast forward to today, Get Mental is on its 75th episode, with almost 10K downloads with a loyal audience, mostly from the beautiful people of San Diego.

People should listen because we truly have quality, thought-provoking and uplifting content, presented in easy-to-understand language and delivered with a spirit of unity, compassion and fun.

Get Mental has also had amazing guests and our topics have ranged from mental health and acupuncture, psychiatric medications, dating all the way to trauma, toxic shame, addictions and violent extremism to name a few. We attempt to cover a wide range of mental health issues that affect people in real time and in real ways. Plus, you will be supporting a Female, Asian-American Psychotherapist-led effort to raise mental health awareness and de-stigmatize mental health care. Our hashtag is #weallhaveissues and #sciencetothestreets.

It was so great to reconnect. One last question – how can our readers connect with you, learn more or support you?
Absolutely, people can visit CecilleAhrens.com and transcendtherapyca.com to learn more about me, my projects and our practice. We are also on Facebook under Cecille Ahrens and we also have a FB group called “Get Mental”. On Instagram you can find us under @transcend_therapy_inc and @getmentalpodcast.

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