A global pandemic, a volatile market, social unrest, and lack of jobs are problems that have become major issues in the purview of many Americans over the past 18 months. Yet, these ailments of our world have existed for much longer than that. As evidenced by the existence of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and therapy centers designed for individualized groups such as women or people of color, mental health is one obstacle society has had to confront over time in different ways to serve different needs. CEO Johnwick Nathan knows all about identifying a need and delivering solutions quickly and effectively – he’s launched a successful clinic to serve those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, and he’s taken his efforts abroad to replicate his success in Ghana. Though a young entrepreneur, Johnwick Nathan has already demonstrated an aptitude for bridging knowledge and service gaps in the community with intentional, focused execution.
Johnwick arrived in the United States at age three, having emigrated from Haiti with his mother and siblings. Growing up in Hudson, New York, then moving to Phoenix, Arizona, as well as studying music in college, have all contributed to Johnwick’s eclectic work experience and background. It is this same work and life experience that has piloted him through the major endeavor of establishing his own clinic, Harbor Health Integrated Care, and inspired him to share the methods and strategies his team uses to help improve mental health conditions all over the globe, including the country of Ghana.
While mental health still carries some negative stigma in the United States, the negative weight of mental illness and mental health care is even greater in Ghana. Most Ghanaian citizens who have mental health issues go undiagnosed, with The International Journal of Mental Health Systems having estimated that 650,000, or roughly 45% of its population, are suffering from severe mental health disorders, while 2,166,000 suffer with mild to moderate mental health afflictions. Johnwick’s proven track record for creating success in mental health, behavioral health, and group home settings makes him well-equipped to confront these problems head on. Harbor Health Integrated Care (HHIC) serves countless Native American patients in Arizona who are suffering from addiction, mental illness, and behavioral health issues, and prior to opening HHIC, Johnwick managed several group homes that successfully treated and rehabilitated patients with behavioral health issues. Upon arriving in Ghana, he took immediate action to implement new systems and revamp old ones.
“There is no help, no guidance,” Johnwick explains when speaking of the conditions he found upon arriving in Ghana. Indeed, most of the healthcare systems in Ghana are disjointed, meaning communication between entities isn’t happening, and this applies to general medical care and treatment. Mental health departments and facilities are lower in priority and therefore subject to the same conditions, but slightly worse. Many of these systems are also stunted – they are outdated and inefficient. The Ghanaian government does its best to work around these issues, but limited funding, outdated infrastructure, and outdated professional practices all work together to slow the delivery of care to those in need.
Johnwick’s work in Ghana also includes bringing clinicians up to speed with the most modern care and treatment options. Through demonstrating effective, non-invasive methods for treating patients across the spectrum of mental healthcare and behavioral health needs, Johnwick is helping to bring Ghana’s mental healthcare systems forward with modern solutions and options. He’s also not interested in providing simple, “Band-aid” type solutions that will solve issues in the interim and do less for the long term; Johnwick’s commitment to creating solutions in Ghana prompted him to approach the Ghanaian Education Department to discuss options that can be implemented from a fundamental standpoint, with the help of empowered individuals on the ground. By empowering and educating key people in Ghana, Johnwick is playing the long game on creating lasting change abroad.
Thinking long-term is in everyone’s best interest right now as the world continues to monitor developments with Covid-19, and as nations continue to evolve based on the actions of their people. Johnwick Nathan has taken up his place in our modern present as a pioneer for positive change through dedicated, intentional action, and his actions don’t just benefit his sphere, but impact the experiences of people all over the world. His sphere of influence here in the United States is felt in the positive impact he’s had for those addicted and suffering, with his most impactful results showing up through rehabilitation of Native Americans. It’s important to note that Johnwick’s impact and success are global; his influence is felt not only in Arizona, but as far reaching as Ghana, where mental health reform is still taking place.