Local woman starts Roc Therapy Fund to help people pay for mental health services

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Bring mental health out of the shadows: that’s what Whitney Young set out to accomplish when she founded the Mental Health Connection in October 2020.

“I just knew I wanted to start something. So I did that, and basically did what any millennial does, I started an Instagram account,” Young said.

The MHC started as a place to get information and has become a lot more in seven short months.

Young said since the pandemic began, one in three Americans have experienced anxiety of depression or both. With that in mind, she launched the Roc Therapy Fund in February. People can donate directly to the fund on Venmo, @mentalhealthconnectroc, and people who need help can request funds through Instagram.

“I live with anxiety, OCD, and depression and they all kind of work together and I’ve been in a position where I couldn’t afford therapy and I ended up spending my savings to see someone and it was like at the worst time in my mental health journey and I think a lot of people are put in that position.”

In just two months the fund has helped eight people afford therapy and raised more than $1500. One of those people is a local social worker, who requested to remain anonymous, but talked to News 8 on the phone. She said the fund has been incredibly helpful and paid for three sessions of therapy.

“It kind of was getting overwhelming and dealing with COVID in a nursing home setting is quite unimaginable right now, so the PTSD and a lot of the stuff you’re working through, you want to work on it but when it’s so expensive it pushes it away,” they said. “You end up prioritizing things like, do I need to pay my student loans or rent or can I also see a therapist?”

Young said she’ll continue to grow the organization with the central goal of helping the community.

“I want to really have it be a mainstream conversation that people are comfortable being open about, and feel safe being open about.”

She also sells t-shirts and sweatshirts that say, “Support your local mental health movement” and all proceeds go to the Roc Therapy Fund.

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