Mental Health Support Services for Womxn Entrepreneurs in Oregon

What is the MENTAL HEALTH Support Service Program?

In 2021, XXcelerate established the Mental Health Support Program to serve womxn entrepreneurs in Oregon with much needed on-demand mental health support. It has been clearly evidenced, the COVID pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on womxn and communities of color. It has exacerbated existing barriers and shone a light on structural realities that often go unaddressed—building a business is stressful, internalized trauma can surface as a barrier to growth and womxn often do not have the resources to access gender and culturally competent care. This program attempts to bring relief to internal challenges that womxn entrepreneurs face so they can survive and thrive as an important and critical part of Oregon’s economic landscape.

XXcelerate is proud to partner with Vanessa Washington, Owner of Sankofa Counseling and Village Resiliency. She is our in-house mental health mentor and is available for a 2-hour consultation to help you navigate mental health issues that are presenting barriers to your business success. This ‘light touch’ service is designed to be a cushion for support when things are hard and can offer coping mechanisms as a stop gap until more permanent solutions are identified. Vanessa offers gender specific and culturally competent support in: 


Are you struggling with personal issues and need help navigating them to keep your business afloat? Feel as if the weight of your business is pulling you down or that depression, anxiety or stress is affecting your ability to engage your business growth? You can make a confidential request for support directly through XXcelerate*. Review the eligibility requirements below—if you fit the current requirements of the program, click on the box below to access the request form.

XXcelerate was able to stand this program up with support from the Federal CARES Act Community Development Block Grant, with the support of Prosper Portland. Until further funding becomes available, eligibility requirements include:
* This service is for womxn business owners based in the state of Oregon whose businesses have been impacted by COVID and they are having some mental health concerns. This is not a service to hire a mental health professional. This is short-term targeted mentorship from a mental health professional to help you troubleshoot a specific problem or need that you are experiencing at the moment. Our goal is to help you navigate this problem effectively so you and your business can remain solvent and resilient during and after the pandemic.


Community support is vital to the success of this program. Our ‘Communities Dream Together’ approach rallies our state’s collective resources to help those that may not have access to certain resources that help make their dreams come true. For those of us with more—how can we give back in a direct and powerful way? $100 pays for one owner to access a trusted and culturally competent licensed therapist on demand for 1 hour. Access that might have been unattainable previously. We are calling on the community to support this resource with donations and business fundraisers. All contributions are eligible as tax deductible and 100% of proceeds go directly to delivering mental health support to the business owner. We have opportunities to get involved across the spectrum of giving. Some ways that you can contribute are:

If you are a community partner, business, association or philanthropic entity that would like to contribute in any way, please reach out to us at We have opportunities to get involved across the spectrum of giving. We urge you to support access to quality, culturally competent mental health support for our small business communities across Oregon.



We cannot talk about health without talking about justice. Mental Health is no different.

We recognize that racism is inherent within the medical and mental health field. Without commitment to and engagement of antiracist practices/policies/procedures, individuals and communities with racialized, minoritized and intersecting identities will experience predictable and disproportionate harm.

Sankofa Counseling first opened their doors on June 1, 2017 as a love letter to the community and an act of resistance. They offer mental health support for individuals who have been traditionally marginalized or excluded from accessing safe and effective support services. Devoted to individual and communal healing, the elevation and celebration of Black, Brown, and traditionally underserved individuals, 87.5% of all their clients hold marginalized identities.

When ‘difference’ in culture is misunderstood or unidentified, it has the potential to be labeled as ‘disordered’, furthering stereotypes and causing significant harm along the way.

Their approach to mental health differs from traditional emphasis on diagnoses and symptoms; instead, they explore the intersections of self, society and environment to deepen understanding and empathy towards self. They support in exploring and/or reclaiming identity while also learning tools for coping both with individualized symptoms (anxiety, depression, etc), and responding to ongoing exposure to marginalization and oppression. They work to collaborate holistically and honor each of these aspects while working towards increased authenticity and congruence of self.

About Vanessa in her own words:
"I’ve struggled significantly with what it means to be a biracial Black woman and therapist in our current & historical social/racial climate. My personal and professional experiences, regardless of roles performed continued to lead to one persisting truth: a truly antiracist, equitable, and trauma informed workplace is one that would require a complete overhaul of existing policies/practices/power structures, or would need to be started from the ground up with care, intention and precision. The idea of a culturally specific and trauma informed counseling and community education practice had been twirling in my head since roughly 2014. This vision was nurtured into existence and made reality in 2017.

I’m a licensed professional counselor and licensed clinical supervisor with over 10 years’ experience providing therapeutic and consultation services to individuals, families and local businesses. I hold a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling, a Bachelor degree in Psychology and Spanish, and multiple post-degree certificates focused on providing assessment, support and treatment to culturally specific populations. I have led, directed, and managed clinical teams, as well as offered consultation and coaching to executive management regarding clinic policy, staff retention and preventing burnout. Additionally, I have both developed and instructed numerous university courses focused on human development, racial identity, and the prevalence of trauma.

Health and wellness do not occur in a vacuum. It involves several systems & communities. Sankofa Counseling was established to provide support to individuals; Village Resiliency was founded to support transformation of providers and systems."