Small Business Spotlight: Integral Help Group
Supporting small businesses that make a difference.
Popular Bank‘s commitment to supporting small businesses is a big part of who we are as a financial institution. We are proud to share the journey of one of our clients, Integral Help Group, and their dedication to providing a safe space for residents and communities in Corona, Queens.
The growing demand for mental health services.
In recent years – and especially since 2020 – the demand for mental health counseling has continued to increase. In August 2021, the CDC reported that 40% of adults in the United Stated had been struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, and rates of depression and anxiety had risen since 2019. A study from the American Psychological Association found that from 2020 to 2021, psychologists reported the greatest increases in treating anxiety disorders (84%, up from 74%), depressive disorders (72%, up from 60%), and trauma- and stress-related disorders (62%, up from 50%).
Integral Help Group: Addressing the mental health needs of our communities.
Recognizing the need for mental health services in her community, Maryuri Hernandez founded Integral Help Group (IHG) in 2016 with four fellow counselors. Today, they have three offices with a fourth office set to open in July 2022, and 40 bilingual therapists serving more than 1,000 patients of all age groups. They provide psychotherapy services including assessing, counseling, and supporting varying client populations – 95% of who are Hispanic – in multiple settings. IHG specializes in psychological disorders and provides assessments for surgeries, parenting classes, marriage counseling, group family therapy, play therapy for children and students with academic and behavioral problems, response prevention, DUI/DWI evaluations and more.
We caught up with Maryuri to learn more about IHG and their mission, which expands beyond being a safe space for its patients by prioritizing a healthy working environment for its employees.
How did Integral Help Group get started?
Maryuri: We saw a clear need in our community and wanted to help people who needed access to mental health resources and counseling. Our founding team hails from different agencies and places, and we wanted to create a space that leverages everyone’s best practices and experiences to take care of patients and therapists. We believe in nurturing people’s professional growth and helping them advance so they can fulfill their potential. I have personally seen people train with us at the start of their careers, go on to obtain their master’s degrees and come back to help our patients. This full circle experience inspires and motivates me to do what I do every day.
How is important is it to be part of the community to Integral Help Group?
Maryuri: Community is everything for us. Many of our patients are immigrant families or are first generation seeking guidance and counsel. We need to be there for them. Mental health has devastated our communities in recent years, and at the same time has been stigmatized as something that you should not seek help for. By being here and advocating for services such as ours, we are helping to dispel those misconceptions and help thousands of people.
Our mission is to make mental health accessible to all. We partner with agencies, hospitals and attorneys to make our services available. There is still so much to do to ensure the well-being of our communities, especially given the impact of the last two years. We look forward to expanding our services and continuing to support our communities.
How have the last two years impacted Integral Help Group?
Maryuri: The last two years have been interesting. We have seen a surge in violence because people were in close quarters with each other and did not have a way to escape their situations. We also saw more cases of depression worsened by isolation. Now that society is opening up, we see increased anxiety about re-entering the daily life outside of home.
The demand for our services spiked. Earlier in the pandemic, we implemented telehealth, which allowed as to reach more people efficiently and quickly. However, telehealth also presented a few challenges – for example keeping the attention of our younger patients on the therapist isn’t as easy via a screen. We also had to be vigilant of abuse and domestic violence in the home – with telehealth, we developed a code system for patients to communicate if they were in a safe space to talk.
We continue to use telehealth to provide the most flexibility for our patients and therapists. A lot of our team members are back in the office, but some provide remote counseling. We are looking to expand and open our fourth location to better serve the community. Our patients want to see us in-person and our therapists want to provide that human, in-person connection and a sense of normality.
What role does a financial partner – like Popular Bank – play for IHG?
Maryuri: Popular [Bank] has been there for us throughout the pandemic, assisting with our PPP loan needs early on, and then guiding us through reopening. We have always felt that they were a good match not only because of their products and services, but also because they have a unique understanding of what it means to serve our communities. They are also here, serving the same customers and helping them in their financial journeys.
To learn more about Integral Help Group, visit their site: https://www.integralmhc.com/
Popular Bank is not affiliated with Integral Help Group.