A Note from Our Founder
Dr. April Duncan, DSW
Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor
I created this program out of my passion to see all Black children live their best lives. Out of frustration that they have to deal with adult issues because of the color of their skin. As a play therapist, I wanted to find a fun & safe place for Black youth to process the feelings they have around navigating racism & discrimination, while also empowering them to use their voices to be the kings and queens they are meant to be!
Black youth are suffering from high rates of race-based stress that, left untreated, is developing into racial trauma. Researchers have linked anxiety, depression, isolation, and suicidal behavior to untreated racial trauma in Black youth. BMH (Black Mental Health) Connect seeks to address these issues through play-based interventions that inspire real conversations around race-based issues affecting Black youth today.
Dr. April Duncan (DSW, LCSW, RPT-S) obtained her Bachelor’s in Arts & Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2006), Masters of Social Work from Saint Louis University (2012), and Doctorate of Social Work from the University of Southern California. She has over ten years of clinical experience in supporting children in schools, the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, and non-profit settings. As a racial trauma expert, she champions the rights of Black children to “reclaim their childhood” by using play therapy to help them learn healthy coping skills to manage race-based
stress. Dr. April also works closely with community members, educators, parents, and professionals across to learn better ways to connect with Black children and provide a safe place to process negative race-based experiences.
Founder & CEO, BMH Connect, June 2020-present
Co-Owner & Co-Founder, St. Louis Play Therapy Institute, November 2016-present
Owner, All About Play, January 2016-present
Adjunct Faculty Instructor, Tulane University, MSW Program, August 2021-present
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, 2016-present
Registered Play Therapist, 2016-present
Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, 2021