Mya Speller Cullins is a mental health/substance abuse expert you need to know! As a serial entrepreneur and talk show host of Beyond Ordinary, she aims to tackle the much-needed conversations on addiction, sexual trauma, and mental illness. In addition to that, she is one of the only black women to own an operate an Opioid Treatment Facility in Georgia. On top of all that Cullins has on her plate, she took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about why mental health and substance abuse is so important to her and dish all the details about her behavioral clinic, Changing Phases Behavioral Support, Inc.!

Tell us why mental health and substance abuse is so important to you.

I have various reasons as to why it’s important to me but I want to share a story in reference to my personal relationship as it pertains to mental health and substance abuse. I had a family member, a step father that struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues as a young child. Growing up in a household and seeing the impact of substance abuse and mental health untreated and undiagnosed, it became a normal thing because no one knew how to treat it or how to address it. It went on in a manner that it could have destroyed my family.

Believe it or not, when I first got into doing mental health and substance abuse, I ran from it because it wasn’t something that I initially wanted to do.  I wanted to have an ideal purpose world because of my upbringing. It kept leading me right back to it. I saw that it was killing a lot of people within my industry. For me, it’s on a personal level. For me, I would do it as if my life depended on it because I know that if I didn’t do what I’m doing, there would be one less provider, one less agency, or one less individual that could reach a mass of  people to save lives, keep families together, and to let people know that it’s okay not to be not okay. All these avoid suicides, divorce, and so many different things that society faces in general.

To me, it’s personal. What it means to me is a calling that I feel like I have on my life. I can’t run from it, it’s so much bigger to me than mental health and substance abuse. It means saving souls, helping families, and helping children and adults that don’t know how to speak about it because they don’t feel safe. It means that I have to do everything that is ethically possible in my power to bring change amongst the people that are facing and struggling with mental health or substance abuse. Everyone is impacted by it in some form or fashion.

How did the idea for Beyond Ordinary come about?

I got a vision backing April and I could not sleep. It came to me because I was sitting in bed and it was like something dropped in my spirit. I began free writing and I realized that everyone may not walk through the door of Changing Phases, my primary company. Beyond Ordinary came about because sometimes you have to do something different to get something different. What I mean by that is, Changing Phases is a brick-and-mortar, a place you come in and get treatment. The issue at hand when you talk about mental health and substance abuse, everyone may not be able to step foot in. Beyond Ordinary is a different approach that has the same goal of reaching people who have struggled or had experience with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Tell us about Changing Phases Behavioral Support Inc.

Changing Phases Behavioral Inc. is an organization that has been in existence for about 15 almost 16 years. I started the company at just 21. We’ve been in the state of North Carolina and now we are in the state of Georgia. We are the ideal model agency and it’s all public knowledge in the state of Georgia as we speak where they’re utilizing our approach, what we do, and what we implement to train others in the industry or looking to come in the industry to provide services in excellence.

That service ranges from individual counseling, group counseling, family therapy, medication management, psychiatric services, psychological testing, and more. It’s all for children, adolescents, adults, and families in general. We recently opened an opioid outpaitent facility. I am one of few African American females that own and operate one in the state of Georgia. Out of all the organizations in the state of Georgia, I have a joint commission national accreditation. With that, there are less than seven providers in the state of Georgia that has it because that has it because it’s the accreditation that generally hospitals use because the criteria of that accreditation body is so intense. I’m one of the individuals out of the seven that have joint commission as my national accreditation body not only for my opioid treatment clinic but also my mental health/behavioral health practice.

What do you hope to accomplish in the years to come?

In the years to come, I have a lot of things I hope to accomplish. I hope to expand my services that I offer on an international level with Beyond Ordinary as well as Changing Phases and my personal brand, which is Mya Speller Cullins. I hope to allow individuals to read my book and be encouraged and inspired. Also with Beyond Ordinary and my companies in general, I’m looking to purchase housing so individuals that are going through hard times in life will have access to community centers. That’s my vision for the next five years to get done. I want to successfully obtain my PhD next year as well.

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All images by Teri Lyn Photography