Christopher McNeil (Richmond,VA)
Career: A Licensed Mental Health Professional
My current occupation is working with adults who have severe mental challenges as a Licensed Mental Health Professional for Adults. In my caseload, I have also worked with individuals who have a diagnosis of autism.
Additionally, I founded a program to foster knowledge, empowerment, and skills to the fatherless, men, women, and families called 180 Mentoring. I’m currently writing and creating a program within my entoring program on how our precious Black and Brown populations can deal with trauma, heal, and recover from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).
Steps towards becoming a Licensed and Qualified Mental Health Professional for Adults:
I always had the gift of help and the heart of a counselor due to my problem-solving ability. I became interested in counseling at age 12, in the role of a junior camp counselor. I would continue to work in the field in different capacities, building my skills.
After recognizing that counseling was my gift and calling, I decided to pursue and finish my Masters in Counseling Psychology in 2013. There is much room for advancement for Black and Brown counselors in the field.
1- What 3 tips would you give someone struggling to reach their goals?
No Goals-No GOLD
Write your goals down on paper.
Keep your goals in front of you every day. Write goals down on notecards, Post-it Notes, bathroom mirror, etc.
Goals are SMART. Keep goals SMART.
2- Name the top 3 goals you achieved?
Top 3 Goals I achieved:
1. Graduating with my Master’s Degree and watching 4 of my children graduate high school.
2. Becoming credentialed in the Mental Health Field
3. Becoming a published author.
3- What inspired you to reach your goals?
My grandmother went to 3rd grade and my mother went to 11th grade but obtained her diploma later. Seeing their struggle changed my mindset and caused my generational thought model to shift towards an upward trajectory. It allowed me to become more open-minded in all things.
4- How did you overcome obstacles to reaching your goals?
I overcame obstacles by remaining focused and keeping the end goals in mind. I learned that we aren’t exempt from life happening to us, but our responsibility is to respond to our best ability.
Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond. I also noticed that when others (children, wife, and community) are watching me, it’s harder to quit.
5- How do you keep your inspiration from decreasing?
I keep my inspiration from decreasing by following my “Why”. Always understanding the reason why I am going for my goal is vital. My Why? is my family and to create a legacy. It allows me to stay in the fight, and inspire others.
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Your story is a true testament to God’s endless Mercies….& You’re Perseverance!!!!!
Thank you Shannon!!
There is a strong need for black and brown mental health professionals. Adds another layer of knowledge when they look like and understand through experience what black and brown clients are struggling with. Thank you Chris for taking on this mantle!
Absolutely! Thank you for being involved in our lives as an educator that looks like us and can relate to the issues that present themselves. Thank you so much for being that awesome example!!
Congratulations Brother Chris,Im really happy for you, you have always inspired my children over the years to be someone important in life, again thank you.
You are welcome Pastor Webb! I will always do what Bishop Belton taught us to do and that is be effective and the light wherever we go! Thank you so much for your encouragement! We love your family to life!!
This article was so encouraging, congratulations Chris on all of your success!! Continue to shine your light, be blessed!
Thank you so much, my sister! I will continue to be encouraged to bring to light those things that need to be discussed and addressed. 🙂
Great job Chris. Growing up you seemed more like a big brother than a cousin. I truly admire your work and continue to be inspired. I believe even if a lot of brothers don’t have the patience to obtain degrees, it shouldn’t deter them to be mentors and positive role models to the youth and one another. Keep doing your thing!!!
OMG thanks cousin!! We are going to do great things!!!
Ever since you were a teenager in my Home Economics class at Reynolds Junior High, I knew you going to do something special. Congratulations on your achievements ! I am proud to know you.