Courtesy of
Courtesy of

COVID-19 has put a focus on many issues that District communities have long wrestled with, such as unemployment, affordable housing and access to health care. Added to the mix is the long-overdue look at injustice toward Blacks.

The DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) is taking a unique approach to addressing mental health concerns within the city’s arts community during these challenging times. “Care For Creatives” is a mental health support partnership with the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) and the Community Counseling Services Center (CCSC).

“During this time, resources that support creatives within the District and access to mental health assistance are crucial,” said Angie M. Gates, OCTFME director. “This partnership with GW and the Creative Affairs Office will have impact across all eight wards.”

Taking a pay-what-you-can approach, the program offers mental health support to the D.C. creative community. Creatives who reach out to the CCSC will be matched with a clinical intern to support them through a solution-oriented therapy approach. All services are confidential and will be provided via telehealth. This outreach out to the creative community allows the city to focus on an important, but not readily thought-about population in the District.

“Establishing this partnership builds on our commitment to make a difference in the D.C. community, while also providing our students with invaluable experience,” said GSEHD Dean Michael Feuer. “At a time of such great need within the creative community, the connection of scholarship, practice and community engagement is more important than ever.”

The Community Counseling Services Center offers pay-what-you-can services to community members and students in the D.C. metropolitan area. Through this partnership, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at GW has expanded CCSC services to include sessions via telehealth for creatives. All telehealth sessions are conducted on a HIPAA-compliant version of Zoom and creatives will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Clinicians will see as many patients as possible and once paired, the clinicians and the creatives will set counseling hours with each other directly.

“We all need help sometimes,” said Maryann Lombardi, associate director of OCTFME’s Creative Affairs Office. “Our creative community gives so much of themselves to the work they do and the audiences with which they connect. This partnership hopes to give a little extra support back to them.”

For more information about Care For Creatives, email

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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