When most people think about health care, they don’t think about business. However, working to ensure that a community has high-quality, accessible health care is indeed a business. When that health care is specifically mental health care, we are describing an urgent need for Black and other clients of color in Dane County. Licensed therapist, Myra McNair saw a need and filled it by building a successful mental health practice, Anesis Therapy—a “FUBU” (for us, by us) business in our community.

McNair says, “I wanted to explore private practice to see more Black and Brown people. I wanted to create a space that was built for us—a place where we would be understood, not misdiagnosed, [and] not judged for cultural or spiritual practices.”  McNair further asserts that she wanted to develop, “…a place that wants to see Black children thrive, families heal, and connect individuals [to] gain more self-reflection, awareness, and find community.”

Some of the misconceptions McNair has to combat are those that pop up due to potential clients’ unfamiliarity with mental health and counseling services. McNair states, “For many of our clients, this is their first experience seeking [mental health] support” and they understandably do not know what to expect and how to navigate the maze that is health care coverage. She suggests that potential clients reach out BEFORE their initial appointment to obtain clarification about their coverage.  Another misconception in our community is attitudinal. According to McNair, “Many people may incorrectly associate seeking therapy with being ‘crazy’ or ‘weak’.”  But McNair affirmatively argues that “therapy is fundamentally an act of self-care and self-improvement. It’s about taking proactive steps to address and manage mental health concerns, just as one would prioritize physical health.”

The business aspect of McNair’s work with Anesis is evident in the numbers. Since opening in 2016 Anesis has served over 4,000 clients and currently has over 900 active clients. The practice employs 60 professionals, and they provide services, training, and consultations to community members and organizations. McNair shared, “colleagues from various states have expressed an interest in emulating our approach within their own communities.”

Because of their extensive waiting-list, McNair suggests that prospective clients start with Anesis’ drop-in clinics at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Tuesdays (10am-2pm) and Thursdays (3 pm-6pm) or for those in need of Spanish language services the 815 Forward Drive location on Thursdays (1pm-5pm). There is also an online form for new clients that will re-open on June 3rd.

Myra McNair is a bright light in our community who has developed a business that offers vital services and support to members of the Black and Brown community and beyond. She wants the community to realize that Anesis offers “support and reassurance” and that “Anesis is a valuable resource, a helping hand extended to those facing mental health challenges, trauma, or struggles with drugs and alcohol.” Now that’s good business!