"I have a nice couch in our office, but it's not about sitting on a couch, said Derrick Collins, co-owner and manager of Stress and Anxiety Center. "It's about sharing your feelings and emotions. That's important to us. We're not shrinks. We take a very hands-on family oriented approach and we tell you what you need to hear. My therapists are people I know, went to school with and/or worked with before. I don't trust just anyone with my clients."
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Derrick Collins, relocated with his family to Poinciana when he was 10 years old. Following in the footsteps of his father, the original founder of the first Stress and Anxiety Center location in Casselberry, Collins pursued degrees that would give him the credentials needed to open and run his own center. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in Education from Bethune-Cookman University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Central Florida. Before joining the family business, Collins worked for a variety of agencies gaining invaluable experience.
"My dad wanted me to join the business in 2013, but I wanted to get my own experience first," he said. "I was exposed to a lot of variety at the Department of Juvenile Justice and as an independent contractor. However, it got to a point where I was maxed out with clients between the three jobs I was contracting through. The referrals coming in the door started to have my name on it already, and I knew, it was time to move on."
Collins joined the family business in 2017. He opened and now runs the Holly Hill location. Collins, and his staff of dedicated therapists, provide mental health counseling, mentoring, and probation services to the Volusia County Area, ranging from adults to youth. They also accept most health insurances, third party reimbursement, Medicare and Medicaid insurance Programs. Once his father retires, Collins will actively manage both locations.
We asked Collins about early challenges, in terms of running the business, and what he enjoys most about being his own boss. "The worst part is definitely the administrative stuff like billing, taxes and the financials," he said. "What I enjoy most is the freedom you're afforded by being your own boss. You're so limited when you work for someone else."
Looking ahead, Collins has big plans for the future of his business. He eventually wants to see a larger center capable of helping even more people. He envisions an actual community center where people can come together, not only for mental health services, but also mentoring and fitness support.
What advice does Collins have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "I'm a risk taker," he said. "I took a risk but it was calculated. That's the key. Also, always have a backup and do your research."