Mental Health Advocacy: Ending mental health stigma and raising awareness on mental health support

Made of Millions Live Stream Mental Health Series: Well Made

I hosted conversations at Made of Millions Foundation on a wide range of topics that are close to my heart — workplace burnout, trauma, faith and wellbeing. On the Well Made mental health series, I answer questions like… what does mental health look like in application? How do you get from a place of suffering to a place of recovery? What is PTSD? How do you learn to live or walk with what you have, or what were you were born with? Tune-in at madeofmillions.com to watch, engage and explore intersectional topics alongside people who understand. 

Featured Conversations

ATEM Life

I started ATEM Life in 2019 because I believed there should be more leaders in our communities speaking out about mental health and voicing their support or sharing its impact.

http://www.atemlife.com features a diversity of opinions and stories from industry and thought leaders of all disciplines on the importance of mental health, various avenues for seeking support, and more..

Featured Conversations

In conversation with Hannah Blum, Author and Mental Illness Activist:

“It took five years [to land on the right medication and treatment], which is a problem that I am addressing in our community. It should not take that long to get proper treatment, but we are limited as far as medication. I became very assertive with my doctors, and if they could not get me where I wanted to go, I would find someone else. The most crucial part is finding the right psychiatrist. There are not enough good psychiatrists in the mental health field, and that is just the truth. Find someone who sees you as an individual and will listen to your wants and needs. Many psychiatrists would put me on meds that sedated me to the extent that I could not work. I started voicing my concerns around that and did not give up my search. Finally, I found the right doctor, and she has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Start with doing the research and putting your energy into finding the right doctor. They can make or break you, so it’s essential.”

In conversation with Sinead Bovell, Founder and CEO of WAYE Talks

“Being Black today means I am part of the ongoing fight to be seen as equal. Statistically speaking, whether looking at data from law enforcement to banks to rates of school suspensions, we have a long way to go when it comes to equality. But, I am committed to that fight. And I’m incredibly proud of my Blackness. 

Growing up in a predominantly white community, I felt the exact opposite to how I feel now. I wanted to minimize my Blackness as best I could. I didn’t want to be seen as different. I didn’t want people to see my natural hair. I just wanted to blend in with everyone else. There wasn’t a particular experience that made me feel this way, but an accumulation of small and large realizations—from the all white dolls on the shelves of toy stores to being one of five Black students at my high school. I do wonder how things would have been if I had felt more confident in my full identity growing up. I have had all of these realizations retrospectively.”

In Conversation with Nicholas Ribush, one of the first Westerners to be ordained a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

“In Buddhism, the root cause of all suffering is ignorance: ignorance of conventional reality and ignorance of ultimate reality. This is the very first thing the Buddha taught following his enlightenment. The root ignorance—grasping at the wrong conception of the self—gives rise to attachment, which in turn gives rise to anger; all other distorted ways of thinking and negative minds come from these “three poisonous minds,” as the Buddha termed them. Acting physically, verbally or mentally under the influence of these delusions leaves imprints on the consciousness: karma. Under the right circumstances, these karmic seeds ripen into experiences of suffering: physical illness, mental illness, dissatisfaction, loneliness, boredom and so forth. I spoke above about “simply treating the symptoms.” From the Buddhist point of view, physical illnesses like cancer or mental illnesses like schizophrenia, for example, are actually symptoms of the underlying delusion and karma. So, unlike Western medicine or psychiatry, Buddhism attacks the actual causes of these illnesses, which lie in the mind. In retrospect, once I understood a little about Buddhism, I realized this was my problem with the medicine we were practicing. Unbeknownst to us, people coming to hospital as a result of their use of toxic substances were there because of their attachment to these substances and their belief that they were the principal cause of the high or relief they experienced. In fact, these substances were merely cooperative causes; the principal cause was karma. And that was something we knew nothing about. I wrote about this in Meditation Against Drug Dependence.”

In conversation with Alyssa Petersel, Therapist and Founder and CEO of My Wellbeing

“Therapy has given me consistent time and space to be honestly and authentically myself. As an empath, one of my strengths is being able to read a room and adjust my demeanor and offerings to best serve the people around me. From a professional perspective, I am proud of this skill and it brings me a lot of joy and growth opportunities. From a personal perspective, this tendency can blur the lines of what I am doing because I want to or because it nurtures me, and what I am doing because I am caring for someone else, or because I think I should be. Therapy has helped me identify this tendency in itself and has given me the perspective and tools to recognize my own wants and needs and communicate those to others, setting boundaries when necessary to ensure those needs are met. This is incredibly powerful both at work and at home. Moreover, as I go to therapy at the same time and place every week, therapy helps me maintain productivity and focus during my work week. I know that if something particularly stressful arises, I have allocated time during my week to process that. I know that if my mind continues to circulate around any particular thing, I have designated time in my week to process that. The regular, consistent catharsis and regulation is invaluable.”

In conversation with Theresa Hayes, Model and Activist:

I went to family therapy when I was in middle school for some time to deal with the trauma of being in foster care when I was a kid. I believe it helped me be able to talk to someone I didn’t know about my emotions at such a young age and to be able to process it all. 

I strongly believe in therapy and I suggest everyone at some point in their life talk to one. We have to break the stereotype that black people don’t need therapy because we absolutely do. It’s such a blessing to have someone listen to you and work through your emotions and problems you have in your life.”

In conversation with Ali Tate Cutler, Model and Mental Health Podcast Host and Advocate

“I have had many mental health struggles in my life, whether surrounding my body shame or depression and anxiety. I discovered that spirituality, meditation, breathwork, and talk therapy were ways that I could heal. I started to believe in the innate fact that the mental health crisis is related to the way that we aren’t talking about the universal struggles of the human experience. Just talking can make us feel less alone and more empowered. Then, when we’re trying to cope or get better, we can then look at what has worked for others. This podcast is a great tool for anyone struggling. I realized with my platform as a model, I need to use it the best way I know how- to help others. And I love doing my podcast interviews. I get to talk to amazing people with a lot of experience in mental health and spirituality.”

In conversation with Brianne Patrice, Executive Director at Sad Girls Club:

“Motherhood is hard and the conversations around motherhood still lean towards this male dominated, patriarchal gaze that women are to “tend to the house and kids” (read on the controversy that raged over Hillary Clinton’s comment in 1992 when asked why she was continuing her law career when her husband became governor of Arkansas). Women are out here running Fortune 500 companies, starting businesses, and creating movements all while breastfeeding and checking homework. There’s no reason why the conversations around motherhood shouldn’t speak to the totality of who a woman is. We have to stop telling women that when they become mothers they must become martyrs. No one EVER asks a man how he is going to have a family and hold down a job. No one ever tells a man that he must give up the parts of himself that make him human, that give him life. But we always tell women that she can’t both work and raise kids or that she must give up her dreams, whatever they may be. It’s time we stop that. Women are magical. And motherhood extends beyond a woman’s physical ability to bear and/or carry a child. Sad Moms Club is a celebration for the “other” in motherhood — it’s inclusive of all those who are mothers and mother adjacent (i.e. the aunties, the mimis and the nanas of the world).”

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