The New York-based creative and LCSW on collecting sneakers and the barriers to mental health care.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Liz Beecroft and I’m an LCSW and Psychotherapist based in Brooklyn, NY. During my full-time job, I provide therapy services to kids, teens, and young adults in the New York City Foster Care System. Outside of my full-time work, I use my social media platforms to share my love of sneakers, basketball, personal style, and advocate for mental health awareness.
Last year I partnered with Nike on the "In My Feels” Air Max 270 React to help start a conversation around mental health. All proceeds from the sneaker sales benefited The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Most recently, I collaborated with The Hundreds for Mental Health Awareness month in May to create the“Adam Feelings” tee, with all proceeds benefiting NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness). I’m passionate about changing the narrative regarding mental health by meeting people where they are and working closely with brands on impactful initiatives that push the conversation forward.
How about your first pair of sneakers?
My parents bought me my first pair of basketball sneakers when I was about five years old, and they were the Air Max Uptempo 3s. That’s when I began playing basketball in my hometown leagues. As I grew older, I continued developing a love of basketball and became inspired by NBA players, which ultimately inspired me to want to be the best player on the court and have the best sneakers.
The first pair that resonates the most with me would be the Iverson Question mids. Allen Iverson was a big influence on me growing up. I didn’t want to be like Mike; I wanted to be like AI. I can still remember the excitement the day we went to our local mall to buy his rookie signature model. It was the coolest feeling ever—almost as if I became one step closer to being like my idol.
If you could only wear one pair for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
This is a really tough question—I feel like a parent trying to choose a favorite child. But if I had to pick, I would probably go with a Nike Air Max 180. It’s a silhouette I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of—it’s timeless, comfy, can be styled with just about anything, and there is so much history that comes with it.
What do you enjoy most about collecting sneakers?
My favorite aspects of collecting sneakers are feelings of excitement when you resonate with the story behind a specific colorway or silhouette. Each sneaker tells a story, and I'm more focused on curating my collection based on stories I can relate to...the stories that reflect who I am as a person. I'm less concerned about collecting for hype. Another aspect I truly love about collecting is the people you meet who also share that excitement. We may have completely different experiences throughout our lives, but our common denominator is our love of sneakers. I've met some of my best friends through sneakers.
What inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Ever since I was young, I’ve struggled with my mental health, and because of this, I was able to develop a strong understanding of just how important it is to take care of it. I ultimately realized that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to help others. When I started college, I initially studied Biology with the hopes of becoming an Orthodontist, but after going to therapy at my college counseling center due to once again struggling with my mental health, I decided to change my major to Psychology and explore a career in Social Work to become a Psychotherapist.
"I wish people knew that therapy is a collaborative process, meaning that you have a say in your treatment goals and what areas you want to focus on in this process. A good therapist will work collaboratively and always meet you where you are."
What do you think it is about our current era that makes what you do so valuable to us?
With the advances in technology, we now have“access” to just about anything, anywhere, or anyone, meaning we can see more parts of the world, more of other peoples’ lives, more information to consume, and overall more content for our brains to soak in. In some regard, this is great and can be very helpful, but on the other end, it can be very harmful to our mental health if we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves or relying too much on this technology to a point where we can’t function without it.
We are exposed to so much more than we have ever been in the past, and, if not managed properly, this can take a toll on our mental health, resulting in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout. This is where therapists come into play by helping others regain their sense of peace by providing the skills necessary to stay present, reframe negative thinking styles, manage these symptoms, and set appropriate boundaries. Therapy is a form of self-care, especially in this era where we often feel so bogged down by responsibilities or“being productive” that we often forget to make time for ourselves.
Can you tell us more about your practice—maybe how you work with your clients is different right now?
My work changed drastically as our services shifted to Telehealth—meaning instead of having sessions in our offices in person, we now have remote video sessions. We’ve been providing therapy throughout the pandemic, which, as you can imagine, isn’t the easiest when working with children. Nevertheless, we adapted to these circumstances and continue to discuss ways to keep our clients engaged as a team.
With a trauma-focused background, I feel like we understood how this pandemic would affect everyone and how the unfortunate realities can be triggering, leading to a spike in the need for mental health services. What we weren’t necessarily prepared for was adapting to the change in how we perform our jobs and the paperwork and protocol changes associated with operating remotely. Similar to most people, we are taking things day by day and doing our best to adjust and adapt to best serve the needs of our clients.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
I think the most significant barrier today for people seeking care is a mix of both stigma and accessibility. Even though there's a clear push for mental health awareness on social media right now, taking the next step to receive care is still something people are hesitant about. As a society, we are becoming more comfortable with having real conversations on this topic, but at the same time, seeking care requires a lot of vulnerability, which can be very difficult.
On top of that, finding a therapist that is a good fit is very challenging, which is something I'm focused on educating others on. Often people who have poor experiences with mental health services may not have found a therapist who was trained in a modality that best matched their needs, which results in added stigma or beliefs around mental health care as a whole. Another factor is recognizing when we need to seek out services. It's easier to notice this for others, but looking inward and admitting that we may need help in certain areas that impact our mental wellness is not always easy to do.
Lastly, for people who are open to receiving services, accessibility is a major barrier. Therapy is expensive, and it's a privilege for people to afford the rates for sessions or have medical insurance that covers this service. We need to continue advocating for efforts that make mental health services more accessible, especially for underprivileged communities.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I wish people knew that therapy is a collaborative process, meaning that you have a say in your treatment goals and what areas you want to focus on in this process. A good therapist will work collaboratively and always meet you where you are. Therapists understand that this process requires vulnerability, and we won’t force you to talk about something if you’re not ready to do so.
Additionally, therapy isn’t always talking about past traumas or the deep emotional sides of things—sometimes, therapy sessions consist of talking about the positives in your life and the wins. It also consists of talking about the smaller everyday stressors. Above all else, it’s a safe space to air anything out, good or bad, and you’ll come to find that it helps you feel a whole lot better getting anything off your chest.