Allison Schaffer

What is your NFCC story?

Therapy and caring for my mental health have always been a priority for me. As a young adult, I took advantage of therapy monthly as I was fortunate to have it covered by my health insurance. Many of my friends were not as lucky, having to pay hundreds for one session. As a result, they had to pick and choose if certain scenarios or challenges necessitated a therapy session/expense. It gutted me to see them having to make this difficult choice! Then, a good friend, Becky Helms, began sharing information about the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center. NFCC seemed like a beacon for so many. I supported the cause in honor of my friend. Then, when Becky asked me if I would be interested in supporting in an advisory board capacity, it seemed like a no brainer. I jumped right in!

You are new to NFCC’s advisory board. What do you hope to help NFCC accomplish over the next three years?
The first few months of serving on the NFCC Advisory Board have been incredible! I had the honor of participating in the “Share the Love” campaign and was able to raise nearly $6,000 in the month of February. 100% of these funds go to support mental health and therapy services for those in our community – meaningful, tangible impact for Houstonians. It is absolutely wonderful to see this happening. Over the next three years, it would be great to see the center grow and expand services beyond the areas currently served, particularly among teens and the young adult population. Texas has one of the fastest growing youth populations in our country and it would be wonderful to provide support to this group who faces new challenges in our world every day.

Why is mental health important to you? What do you do to take care of your own mental health?
Mental health is important to me because it is often one of the most overlooked aspects of one’s personal life. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma in many minority communities and families surrounding therapy – including my own. Unlike physical health, many are hesitant to seek out therapy services and care for their mental health – despite the growing list of evidence that shows it is as, if not more important to one’s overall wellbeing. Therapy is tough work – it can be challenging to look inside yourself and be honest. Yet the benefits are truly unbelievable. I remain a huge advocate for therapy and mental health because I have seen the benefits first hand. As a busy working mom of two angels, it’s hard for me to prioritize my own mental health but aim to take small steps every day. From bi-monthly counseling/therapy to personal mental health days off from work to taking breaks from social media and purposefully pulling myself out of toxic relationships, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my mental health and get better.