TheBlackManCan is making its way back to the state of Virginia to bring you another EXTRAordinary Black Man. We bring to you a Black Man who is not only committed to creating a successful business but also successfully running it. We proudly present Rahmell Dash Co-Founder and CFO of From Start 2 Finish Consulting Services, Inc. Rahmell sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss mental health, advice for young black men and entrepreneurship.
TheBlackManCan: Rahmell, at what point in your life did you realize that mental health was an area of interest?
RD: Rahmell Dash began generating an interest in the mental health field during his undergraduate years at Virginia State University. Mr. Dash always had a passion for business therefore he obtained his Bachelors in Business Marketing. While attending Virginia State University Mr. Dash pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated and the fraternity opened multiple doors to expand and enhance his business network. Mr. Dash had acquired mentorship from a fraternity brother who successfully operated a Human Service company specializing in Behavioral Health servicing adult and children. Mr. Dash’s mentor allowed him to shadow his operations along with providing him with a wealth of knowledge within the Human Services field. Through research and the wealth of knowledge provided by his mentor, Mr. Dash decided to venture off to open his own Behavioral Health company called From Start 2 Finish Counseling Services to assist at-risk adults who suffer from a mental health illness.
TheBlackManCan: Why does mental health need to be a focus within the Black Community? Why even a more hyper focus on Black Men?
RD: 1. Access to Care: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, African Americans and other diverse communities are underserved by the nation’s mental health system.
2. Cultural Issues: African Americans often turn to family, church, and community to cope with a mental illness. Many African Americans underestimate the impact of mental disorders. Issues of distrust in the health care system and mental illness stigma frequently lead African Americans to initially seek mental health support from non-medical sources.
3. Rates of Mental Disorders: Rates of mental illnesses in African American communities are similar to those of the general population. For some disorders, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders, there is a high probability of misdiagnosis because of difference in how African Americans express symptoms of emotional distress. And while the rate of substance use among African American is lower than other ethnicities, alcohol and drugs are responsible for more deaths in the African American community than any other chronic disease in the U.S.
In conclusion, cultural identity encompasses distinct patterns of belief and practices that have implications for one’s willingness to seek treatment from and to be adequately served by mental health care providers. More research must be done to better understand mental health disparities and to develop culturally competent interventions for African Americans.
TheBlackManCan: What is the meaning behind the name of From Start 2 Finish Counseling Services? What is the mission and vision behind your firm?
RD: The meaning behind the name of From Start 2 Finish Counseling Services is quite simple. We envisioned our organization to help a population that has been faced with mental disorders and to help that person overcome their hurdles through year round counseling services. In essence, we developed a program to help a person live more self sufficient through working with that person “From Start 2 Finish”. From the very first moment they inquire our services until that person discharges from our services and graduates from the program.
From Start 2 Finish currently provides Mental Health Skill Building to “at risk” adults. The focus of these services is to assist adults with independent living. We specifically provide the training and support necessary to enable adults with significant psychiatric functional limitations to achieve and maintain community stability and independence in the most appropriate, least restrictive environment.
TheBlackManCan: If you had to pick three books every young man should read what would they be and why?
RD: The three books that I think every young man should consider reading would be:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: John Maxwell
The Art of War: Sun Tzu
The books taught me how to become a well-rounded leader, which is extremely helpful with myself leading a staff of 13 employees. In order to become an effective leader one must first learn the art of how to lead.
TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and your firm within the next five-years?
RD: I am in the works solidifying multiple partnerships that are extremely major endeavors. Do not be surprised if you see me publicized in Forbes or Fortune in the next five years. As far as From Start 2 Finish Counseling Services, we will expand our services along with our locations. We will expand our target market, not just limiting our services for adults but also will target children as well. We are also considering venturing out into the non profit sector to provide services to those individuals who are un-insured or do not qualify for our level of services but are in need of mental health treatment.
TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black boys and men to see positive images of themselves?
RD: It is truly imperative that black boys and/or men to see positive images of them selves because doing so will drive that individual and motivate them to accomplish the unthinkable. Our black youth need positive role models to look up to and our black men need to step up and begin serving as role models and mentors for our black youth. It bothers me that there is very few positive black men out there who are willing to take the time to mentor our youth but will be the first to scrutinize when our black youth slip through the cracks. Lets take a stand and step up men to help empower our youth.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black males of today?
RD: I would like for my black males especially of today to realize that the jails are over crowded with us and are continuing to overflow. There is no easy road in life, especially when it comes to being successful. Work hard and acquire the knowledge that you will need to grow; learners are leaders. I am motivated everyday by my Dream of being the most influential and successful person in the world. I want to make a difference whether it’s in my own community, nationwide or worldwide. Wherever God leads me I am content with that. My word of advice to my black males would be to never be afraid to dream but furthermore don’t be afraid to live out your dreams.