Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Vernetta R. Freeney

The 2017 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 2 – Featuring: Vernetta R. Freeney, Podcaster, Instructor, and Organizer

Here’s the direct link to the recording on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cotZK6rjZbM

About

Vernetta R. Freeney is the Creator/Producer of the podcast, ‘A Toast To Truths.’ She teaches stressed individuals how to claim their peace using journaling as a tool. She was one of the Top 100 Young Professionals in Houston 2015 and featured on cnbc.com and EOFire podcast.

When she’s not teaching you how to prevent stress, she’s reading a really good book, binge watching Netflix or cheering on her beloved Dallas Mavericks. Vernetta is a regular guest on blogs, podcasts and other media. She speaks at conferences, workshops, trainings and more across the country with her je ne sais quoi introverted speaking style.

If all this isn’t enough, Vernetta is an ESL Instructor for 10 years and founding Organizer of the Houston African American Bloggers Association.

How You Can Help

Support the Houston African-American Bloggers Association by working with the association’s influencers to leverage your brand message. http://houstonafricanamericanbloggers.com/

Resources mentioned

The Truth Confidant™ Journal 

 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Sarah Fader

The 2017 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 1 – Featuring: Sarah Fader, Mental Health Columnist, Speaker, and Viral Hashtag Creator

Here’s the direct link to the audio recording on YouTube: https://youtu.be/MqNKYB1wVXw

About

stigma fighters sarah faderSarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.

Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.

Connect with her on Twitter or on her personal website at http://www.sarahfader.com/

How You Can Help

Support Stigma Fighters at stigmafighters.com where they publish essays from people living with mental illness.

Resources mentioned

DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders )

#ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike 

NAMI 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

What’s the deal with Minority Mental Health Awareness Month ?

To celebrate Minority Mental Health Awareness Month while cultivating my commitment to mental wellness and self-love on this blog, I invited our resident mental health expert back for an interview. Dr. Angela Clack decided to swing by to help us understand what this month is all about and offer up some tips for self-care, mental wellness advocacy and more!

You can listen to the recording by clicking here

About Dr. Angela Clack

Angela Clack PsyD LPC Licensed Psychotherapist practicing in New Jersey. She earned her doctorate in 2002 with a degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University, Washington, D.C. She has taught, supervised and provided training in specific areas related to children, youth and their families. Practicing in the field of mental health for over 15 years, Dr. Clack has developed a specialty in working with youth who have emotional and behavioral disturbances, learning difficulties, and youth and adults who present with trauma history and trauma related behaviors. She has worked extensively with youth in out of home placements, including residential treatment settings, secure juvenile facilities, and within the foster care system.

Dr. Clack has trained direct care counselors, social workers, and juvenile detention workers on topics such as suicide awareness and prevention, managing challenging youth with mental illness, sexuality and the sexualized child, social skills and effective communication.

Dr. Clack’s private practice treats adults and youth suffering from depression, anxiety, grief/loss, as well as general emotional distress and relationship/interpersonal problems.

Her approach to providing clinical care consists of teaching clients to recognize maladaptive patterns in their thinking and behaviors that have resulted in inefficient emotional and behavioral functioning. Through her work with her clients she seeks to empower individuals to live life to their fullest potential .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources mentioned in our interview

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month campaign by NAMI

Bebe Moore Campbell

• Learn more and Join us for our Sister Support Meetup in South Jersey for self-care activities and community support.

• Reach out to Dr. Clack at her private practice Clack Associates.

• Tune in to Dr. Clack’s Facebook Live chats on Wednesday nights. “The Virtual Coach with Dr. Angela” You can find her on Facebook using the hashtag #mentalhealthmedic

 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

The Necessity of Self-Care for Black Women Making History Everyday with Dr. Kesha Moore

To celebrate Black History Month while cultivating my commitment to mental wellness and self-love on this blog, I invited one of my mentors, Dr. Kesha Moore to help me share some tips on practicing self-care as we work towards elevating our lives beyond just merely surviving but thriving.

Dr. Kesha delves deep into why is self-care so important for black women and how it has played a major role in the resilience of black women throughout history. We also discuss why self-care is even considered an “act political warfare” especially for black women. And finally we talk about how black women can practically apply self-care when faced with daily micro-aggressions.

You can listen to the recording by clicking here

About Dr. Kesha Mooredrkeshamoore

Kesha Moore, PhD is an educator, author, speaker, and executive coach who helps professional women maximize their productivity while creating lives of balance. Dr. Moore is the CEO of Life In Focus Coaching. She is also the author of the book Your Life as a Celebration: Accomplishing your goals with less stress and more joy.

Through her writing, teaching, and coaching activities, Dr. Moore provides female professionals with the most effective, research backed strategies for their personal and career development. She presents this information in a manner that is easy to understand and apply. Dr. Moore’s recognizes and has compassion for the significant challenges professional women face in fulfilling the competing demands of career and family. She discusses her challenges in this area and openly admits that “I was my first client.”

Key Highlights from interview

Self-care is a lot like cherishing a newborn. It is loving ourselves, nurturing ourselves, protecting ourselves, and not because we’ve accomplished anything. It’s because this is who we are. We are already people of tremendous value, unique and irreplaceable. So it’s not that we deserve self-care because we’ve achieved this goal, or hit this income or level of education, we deserve it because of who we are. And if we can love ourselves in those ways, then we do want to eat healthy, give ourselves the pleasure of taking a nice warm bath, or reading a good book.

• You can begin a practice of self-care by ritualizing the way you start and end your day.
Examples are: Journaling, Meditation, Reading a daily Devotion, Exercising, and Prayer

• We talk about who truly reaped the benefit of creating the stereotypical “Strong Black Woman” referencing the speech that originated with orator, Sojourner Truth and later called “Ain’t I a Woman?” or “Ar’nt I a Woman?”

When dealing with micro-aggressions we can look at self-care like an immune system. There are germs all around us and sometimes we can get sick and sometimes people are in that environment and don’t get sick. The difference is the quality of their immune system. Your immune system is able to take the things in your body that mean to harm you and process them and expel them from your body without doing so much damage.

Given the fact that we live in a racist and sexist society it’s a given that there will be daily assaults on our dignity, and on our humanity and so it’s essential we practice self-care regularly because that is our immune system. Self-care is how we are able to keep ourselves healthy, and to keep ourselves functioning in a dysfunctional context. So when we are practicing self-care, we are reminding ourselves of our own inherent dignity and value.

• We can accomplish this by connecting with other people who are like us and have experienced similar pain. We get a chance to finally say, ‘ok I’m not crazy, this just happened right?’ and someone is there to say like ‘yeah! That happened!’ This is self-care because we are exposed to these things {micro-aggressions} in such a pervasive way it can make you feel like ‘I deserve this’. So having communities of people that remind you that you’re valuable, you’re not what they say you are, that you deserve more, helps to heal us, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There is a lot of research around the physical benefits that come with being in supportive communities.

The point is to get the thoughts that are running around outside in the society that says we aren’t valuable, that we don’t deserve 5 minute breaks that we don’t deserve to make more money, that we don’t deserve to be treated with dignity…all of those ideas that exist out there expelled from our body without them becoming parts of us and taking root in our minds. So we are able to preserve our minds through our immune system of self-care.

We explore the concept of flourishing to reach our optimal potential. In her book, Your Life As A Celebration: Accomplishing your goals with less stress and more joy Dr. Kesha discusses how we can transform our lives into a celebration of us. We can create a life that affirms our core values and engages in our life purpose.

• We also open up some fun dialogue about Art as both a reminder of our value and way to visualize ourselves thriving and not just getting by. (The quote I was trying to reference was “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” by Oscar Wilde.) We even nerd out about afrofuturism for good measure.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Behind The Mental Health Technology: Interview with Write Mynd founder, Lizzie Barclay

writemynd

Mental health and technology has been a hot topic as of late. Though I am a strong advocate for talk therapy and support groups, I believe technology, when used properly can be quite useful.  And well, it is the way of the future for mental health treatment.

With that being said, there are plenty of app reviews out there, but tech writing isn’t really my thing so I thought it would be more interesting (and authentic) to hear directly from the founders of these new technological advances.

I came across Lizzie via the Women who Tech Facebook group, who then told me about her app Write Mynd.

Write Mynd is a new app for iOS to help busy people take better care of their minds by empowering them to be honest with themselves and others about how they feel. But unlike an ordinary diary, Write Mynd relays a user’s musings back to them in different ways to help people spot patterns in their feelings and behaviour. It also also offers the cathartic effect of off-loading anonymously to others, and empathising with what others are going through too. The social network element is unique: there’s no commenting, making it a troll-free space.

She and her team developed Write Mynd on the premise that Self-Reflection Can Be Powerful.
They believed that when you practice self-reflection regularly, you can start to identify patterns and behaviors that affect your mental health. Sometimes seeing your thoughts written out can take the power away from them, and give you space to think, and decide what to do with them.

I happen to agree with that sentiment. So I emailed a few questions over to get the 411 about her app and tap more into her ‘Why’ and this is what came back…

Q1 Lynn: So my 1st question would be: When will this app be available for download to Android users such as myself?

A1 Lizzie: Unfortunately, Write Mynd is available on iOS only at the moment. We’re following the lean start up principles and wanted to validate our concept and product on one platform first before investing in developing for both. Our decision to focus on iOS was based on market research about iPhone users responding more positively to apps about mental well-being. But, as soon as the time is right, we will develop for Android. It’s such an important platform and it’s not been forgotten!

Q2 Lynn: How confidential is what one records on the app? (for instance what if someone wrote a suicide note)

A2 Lizzie: The app is totally confidential. Users can choose to make an account if they wish, but it’s not essential and we offer this feature so that users can sign into the app on multiple devices, or log out if they want to. In the next update of the app, we are going to introduce signposting to the Samaritans charity (where I used to volunteer) so that people who need or want more support can find it easily straight from the app. Users can also block content that they don’t want to see if they find it distressing. Ultimately though, for now, it’s totally confidential. I am in conversations with various charities about how to make this app as safe as possible for users in all situations.

Q3 Lynn: Speaking of Suicide does the app do anything special if suicide or death threat is mentioned in a recording?

A3 Lizzie: Not at the moment, but these are considerations that we are working through in our beta phase, working with as many third parties as possible to seek advice.

Q4 Lynn: Is there a way to collect all of the reporting to the app for printing to take to a professional (with cloud syncing capabilities to mac or pc).

A4 Lizzie: This is a great idea, and one that is on our list for future development. Many people have suggested the app would be a great tool to use to accompany therapy or counselling, and it would be helpful to be able to print / cloud sync your entries. Ideally, I’d like people to use their phone and the app directly in all situations, but if users are asking for the ability to print / sync their information then I’d like to accommodate that request of course.

Q5 Lynn: Finally, could you explain what’s unique about your app that separates it from similar apps?

A5 Lizzie: What’s unique about Write Mynd…

1) It’s the easiest and fastest way to record your emotions on the go. Our “swiping” feature means that if you can’t put your feelings into words yourself, or if you’re rushing to articulate how you feel, you can swipe through different emotions to specify whether you agree or disagree with them. The app then immediately plays this information back to you telling you whether, based on what words you just swiped through, you’re feeling overall more positive or negative. The Dashboard shows you a graph of your positive and negative sentiment changing over time.

2) It’s a diary that actually gives you meaningful feedback. Lots of people want to keep a diary, but are put off because they don’t know where to start. This app suggests different emotions to you to get you thinking, and to reduce the intimidation of a blank page. It then plays back your posts in different ways so you can draw your own conclusions about the things that make you happy / sad / angry etc. For example, if you consistently see that you’re angry when you’re writing about work, maybe you should consider finding a new job. If you’re consistently happy when you write about being outdoors, great – do more of that! It’s sometimes hard to see what’s good and what’s not good for us until we’re staring at it in black and white.

3) It’s been run entirely by volunteers working their socks off on top of busy day jobs! It’s a team of people who believe in the product and what it’s trying to achieve: promoting and supporting better mental wellbeing for all!

4) The design. A lot of mood tracking apps I’ve come across are very medical / not necessarily something you’d want on your phone at work. The language wasn’t accessible. I don’t want to think about my “cognitive state”. I don’t want to feel like a patient. I want something fun, friendly and accessible. Unfortunately there’s still so much stigma around looking after your mental health that many people want something cool, fun and mainstream to use – not something that has “I struggle with anxiety” written all over it.

 

Keep in Touch

lizziebarclay

 

 

Lizzie Barclay, Founder
Email: lizzie@writemynd.com
Tweet: @LizzieBarclay or @WriteMyndApp

 

 

 

Sharing is Caring

Copy and Paste to spread the word on your social media networks

  1. Want better mental clarity? Check out the latest mood tracking app @WriteMyndApp
  2. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Start keeping a diary on the go. Check out @WriteMyndApp
  3. Came across a diary app that gives you useful insight on your diary entries. Download @WriteMyndApp

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.