Nompumelelo Moyo (LJI)
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) the rise in social media use and COVID 19 pandemic have been implicated in mental health issues. CONTACT talks to Khan Bouba Dalambaye a counsellor working with those struggling with these issues about his experience and challenges in the field.
As he talks it unfolds that initially he had set his sights on being a lawyer, but it took one grade 11 Psychology lesson to ignite Dalambaye’s passion for counseling and well the rest as they say is history.
“I fell in love with psychology, and it spoke to my personality because I am fascinated by people” says Dalambaye who has been running his own business for the past 13 years as a counsellor, offering services in areas of mental health and inclusion.
He finds the demand for counselling has grown, post pandemic, as most communities are still reeling from its massive impact especially on mental health. The Black community is also coming out for help, and attitudes are changing owing to the George Floyd incident, says Dalambaye. However, the ones seeking help are mostly women, men are still reserved. He says this could be due to “representation and modeling were there are rare examples in the media or social spaces of healthy men modeling vulnerability in a space and because of this, the situation gets perpetuated”.
Unfortunately lack of affordability and manpower also pose a stumbling block. Counselling services which do not come cheap, have become accessible to a certain class or group of people. This situation has led Dalambaye to use a sliding scale when charging his clients to ensure they are able to afford him yet ensuring he does not exceed the minimum charge allowed in the profession. In addition, he has been looking at getting a government grant so that he can offer subsidized counselling.
To remedy the issue of staff shortages, Dalambaye says it would be beneficial if children especially those from Black communities or minorities are exposed to this profession from a young age so that they could consider it a career because currently this profession is dominated by white people and there are only three anglophones and Blacks.
Despite being a minority, which has its challenges, Dalambaye has worked hard to be where he is. He said to enter the profession one should be ready to navigate white space, sometimes face discrimination, gas lighting and official biases getting in the way of building a clientele base. Above everything else Dalambaye emphasizes the importance of taking care of oneself and being able to emotionally break out from your job when not in duty because the job can be draining emotionally.
Dalambaye is Canadian born and his work focuses on supporting adolescents, young adults and the Black community in particular, by offering support that is solution-focused & culturally relevant. His consulting work involves creating & designing workshops, trainings, presentations and school-based programs which focus on mentorship, career-exploration. along with guest-speaking, moderation/facilitation.
It took one psychology lesson for Dalambake to get into counselling maybe reading this article might have the same effect on someone contemplating on what to study. Here is a profession that is rewarding yet experiencing staff shortages. Be part of the change and help communities cope with these new realities.