Mental health services can prevent traumatic events, mitigate the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences, and improve mental health outcomes in youth. However, many families in our Chattanooga community cannot access these services as a result of cultural, linguistic, transportation, or financial barriers, creating significant inequities in mental health access and outcomes.
To reduce disparities in mental healthcare access and mental health outcomes for children and youth in Chattanooga, LifeSpring is implementing a multi-phase Mental Health Initiative in 2021-2022. The project will be overseen by Dr. Michele Pickett, a board-certified Pediatrician and guided by a committee of Mental Health Professionals who represent our patient population in race/ethnicity and culture.
Meet the LifeSpring Mental Health Steering Committee:
Anaely (Ani) Hernandez Johnson, M.A., LPC-MHSP
Ani Hernandez Johnson, M.A., is a bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor, licensed in the state of Tennessee. She received her M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Sex Therapy from Richmont Graduate University in 2011. She has a private counseling practice out of downtown Chattanooga, serving kids and adults through individual and family counseling. Though she works with a wide variety of presenting concerns like: depression, anxiety, grief/loss, and stress, she is especially passionate about her areas of specialization: working with trauma (of all kinds), working with parent-child relationships through PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy), and working with women experiencing infertility, pregnancy loss, and postpartum adjustment. Having grown up as a first generation born American, she uses her experience as a minority and being bilingual to serve and advocate for the Latino community through culturally sensitive therapy options as well. Ani and her husband Jon along with their son reside in the greater Chattanooga area and are passionate about serving their community wherever they can as a family.
After finishing his studies Pablo pursued a career in construction management, assuming that he would follow in the footsteps of his father, but quickly realized that social work within the Latino community is where he was meant to be. After working alongside underserved Latino children for a few years, Pablo pursued a degree in Marriage Family Therapy so he can provide counseling services to students and families who have been exposed to trauma.
Pablo works at the Family Justice Center as an Intervention Specialist facilitating support groups in the schools, and motivating children to reflect on their own story and engage in empathy. His philosophy is that “healing begins when our experience is felt and understood.” He is also a passionate storyteller producing short films that help people connect with one another; his films highlight the resiliency of Latin women and immigrant children in public education.
MyChelle Richardson-Pinkerton, M.A.
MyChelle is a Marriage and Family Therapist licensed in the state of Tennessee. She is a member of Journey Psychotherapy Center, a private practice in Chattanooga, TN. She enjoys working with couples, families, and individuals struggling with relationship difficulties, sexual issues, depression, and anxiety. She also works with those dealing with emotional challenges from pregnancy and pregnancy loss, grief and loss, and adjustment to life transitions.
In 2002, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In 2005, she received her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Sex Therapy from Richmont Graduate University. She is trained in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy (Levels 1 &2). She is also trained in S.A.F.E. EMDR.
She has spent many years walking alongside individuals as they trudged through the muck and mire of life’s hardships. She has experience working in youth ministry, community outreach, and a pregnancy care center. She has been blessed with supportive, trustworthy people in her life who have seen her through many trials. Their example has taught her the ministry of “getting in the trenches” with people.
Mrs. Richardson-Pinkerton resides in Chattanooga, TN with her husband, Pierre, and their two precious boys.
Dr. Rachel Tolliver, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, CCM
Dr. Tolliver joined the UT-Chattanooga Counseling Center in November 2020 as a licensed, board certified, psychiatric mental health prescriber. She comes to UTC after working as a registered nurse for 28 years and as a clinician in behavioral and developmental disability nursing since 2006. She is a May 2019 graduate of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner emphasis. Dr. Tolliver desires to see each person experience holistic mental health restoration through an integrative approach that combines the best evidence-based psychotherapy and psychopharmacology care strategies. She has experience successfully treating sleep disorders, trauma-related disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.
Tracy McKay, M.A.
Tracy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Tennessee. She received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College in 2008. She currently has a private practice in Chattanooga where she sees adults in individual and couples counseling. Tracy has been an adjunct professor at Richmont Graduate University teaching “Trauma and Biology” and also supervises graduate students toward licensure. As a trauma informed counselor, she has specialized training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. She focuses her practice on seeing individuals who have experienced trauma in all forms from single episodic trauma to complex trauma, and is especially drawn toward holistic approaches. Prior to becoming a counselor, Tracy worked for Young Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters, feeling drawn toward vocations that facilitate growth and healing within the context of a safe relationship. Tracy and her husband reside in Chattanooga with their children.
We are thrilled to have such a knowledgeable and experienced steering committee to lead LifeSpring in developing and implementing our Mental Health Programs and Services for the benefit of our patients and community members.