(UPPER NORTH LAS VEGAS)–With recent stories that our schools are dangerously short of psychologists, counselors and social workers, this is Dinisha Mingo’s opportunity to help our children affected by trauma.
Mingo is CEO and director of M.H.S. Behavioral Services, the only black-owned behavioral health agency in the Valley and one of the few agencies that are female-owned.
Mingo’s agency is still in its infancy stage, having started M.H.S. in 2016. An A-Tech grad and alumnus of UNLV, she saw a direct need in the community.
“I had aspirations of having my own health agency. Let me do this and set a standard,” Mingo started to explain.
The aspirations came after working for other agencies and more notably, seeing what went right and what went wrong.
“Starting M.H.S. became a purpose for me. At a time when behavioral health was declining, services for underserved were being cut, lack of treatments, improper processes, ethical problems…I grew when it was declining,” Mingo said.
With the growth M.H.S. experienced in a short amount of time, the moment approached for Mingo to take things to the next level.
“I was passionate about the service I created. For example, I created a training for providers who didn’t have proper training. It was for best practices. Maybe the providers learned things a certain way and they didn’t have practice nor the accountability. The Medicaid population needs our services. If I can help these providers strengthen their skills and advance with a certain ethical standard, practice and educational knowledge, then I’ve done my job. This is not the field to get into where it’s just a job. We’ve put the right people in place and we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve been able to produce caring providers. My goals are to build a business where people want to work for me,” Mingo explained.
M.H.S. currently does therapy and counseling for both children and adults, and they specialize in most disorders. They also focus on crisis, trauma, anxiety, PTSD, behavior interventions, autism. In addition, they work with children who are oppositional defiant, and those who have social emotional disturbances.
In addition, M.H.S. is trying to bridge the gap between behavior and education.
“Our hope is to collaborate with schools and teachers. If we can work with these kids, then we’ll see them improve academically,” Mingo said. “We really want to help with training for teachers and administrators in terms of crisis response. Working together, we’ll have better behavior management techniques.”
But the problems are complex. M.H.S. is having much difficulty trying to gain access to different CCSD campuses.
“We’ve been to many open houses, we’ve gone out to schools for assemblies. We’ve been part of crisis response for some schools. Suicide awareness is a big thing lately. We want to bring awareness and coping skills to these kids and to let kids know who they can go to. We’ve gone into some teacher lounges to do staff trainings,” she said. “We’ve done workshops for TFA (Teach for America) so that rookie teachers can have better skills. Social workers have reached out to us. These are some of our bigger efforts.”
And yet, individual teachers can benefit from these services also.
“Teachers are overwhelmed and stressed themselves. They suffer from stress and trauma also,” Mingo said.
But with the trauma our children experience overall, Mingo laments on the current state of our children.
“It shouldn’t be so difficult to help. These schools do not have enough social workers, counselors and psychologists, behavior intervention specialists. Point blank, there is little mental health support for our students. It should not be so hard to give out support for our families,” Mingo said, firmly.
We work with clients involved in IEP meetings. We have plans for intervening and controlling behavior. If we know what works, allow us to come into your classrooms and model it. We’re invested in making sure this behavior is changed, allowing children to have better outcomes. We don’t want to see kids kicked out of school. It shouldn’t be hard to help our students,” Mingo explained.
Mingo is the oldest of six siblings and she said that kids are resilient.
“That’s why I’m passionate about getting into the schools. Our services are effective, but we got to have their entire support system on board. The teachers are losing their own investment because they’re overworked,” she said.
Mingo, 31, is active in her spare time, both in her faith and her community. She enjoys singing at church, traveling and going karaoke. Books she’s currently reading include “The Twelve Week Year” by Brian Moran and Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. She’s also reading “How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK: A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business” by Dave Anderson.
The latter makes up her coda.
“God is the center of my life. I’m always trying to be a good leader and business owner. I’m striving to keep that focus and values for myself. I love the work I do, I’m thankful.”
Dinisha Mingo is CEO & Director of M.H.S. Behavioral Services, Inc., 2715 E. Russell Rd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89120
Editor’s Note: the CCSW Sunday Spotlight aims to feature the human side of a CCSDer. If you or someone you know may have an interest in being interviewed for the Sunday Spotlight, contact me here on email@example.com.