MALVERN, Ark. – Christina Hopson-Allen was right in her element as he led a group therapy session at Covenant Recovery Facility in Malvern on Monday. The topic was mental health.
“What’s mental health? What do you think of when you think mental health?” Hopson-Allen asked the group.
Former inmate Jacob Lane had an easy answer.
“Before all of this, I truthfully did not believe in mental health. I felt like if I wasn’t dealing with it by myself, I was being weak,” Lane said.
His perspective was now different. He credited Hopson-Allen for changing his perception on mental health. Hopson-Allen is the owner of Passion Unlimited Counseling. Through a partnership with the Arkansas Community Correction, she has led a therapy program called “The Passion Project: Reducing Recidivism, Transitioning home.”
“When you’re transitioning from prison to the community, you need that support and a lot of them have never had it because a lot of them are repeat offenders,” Hopson-Allen said.
Each week she and a team of therapists go to ACC reentry and transitional facilities to help former inmates learn the importance of their mental health.
“I had a bad problem about holding everything in until I couldn’t hold it in no more and I’d just explode,” Lane said. “Being able to talk about my problems the way that I am now, it’s like it gives me relief.”
Lane’s story was just one of many that have pushed Hopson-Allen to want to do more.
“This is a great opportunity to get in the community and serve an underserved population,” she said.
ACC and Hopson-Allen are hoping to increase this program to 12 facilities by August.