Making Black History featuring Joan Hampton

February is Black History Month. Every Tuesday this month on WXXV we will feature a person here on the Coast who is making a difference.

Today, News 25’s Sabria Reid introduces us to Joan Hampton.

She refers to herself as a ‘hope dealer.’ Joan Hampton is a licensed professional counselor and owner of Oasis Mental Wellness in Gulfport. As owner of her own practice, she’s making black history. “It’s amazing to be a black counselor because when I was younger counseling was not talked about.”

Joan wasn’t exposed to black counselors until she was an adult. After changing her major in college numerous times, she decided to take a break from school, hoping to find her passion. “I took this job as a secretary because I needed to work and when I got there and I started seeing the people and see how their lives were changed by counseling. I knew what I wanted to do.”

Representation matters. As a secretary for black female therapists, she was inspired to go back to school at the University of West Alabama and become one. “It’s important for me to put my face out there and show them ‘hey someone looks like you can understand you.’”

Joan has worked with thousands of Mississippians all across the state, but she’s most rewarded by watching her clients transform into their best selves.

Administrative Assistant Ashley Williams tells News 25 some people are comforted when they realize their counselor is a black woman. “As soon as she opens that door, I see a wider look on people’s faces and it’s almost a sigh of relief to where it’s like somebody looks like me. It’s incredible just to see and it’s every single day I get to see it.”

Joan has been awarded several awards for her work in Mississippi, including being named as one of ‘100 Gulf Coast Women to Know in 2020.’

But what brought her to tears was when a young black client showed her appreciation for the growth she made. “She brought me an ornament that has all is calm on it and she said, Ms. Joan thank you for making me calm and I’m not a crier, I boo-hooed.”

As she continues working with nonprofit groups, women, and children along the Coast, Joan is spreading mental health awareness to communities of color all across Mississippi.

Categories: Featured

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