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.

Now that We Have Mental Health Awareness…

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If you don’t already know May is Mental Health Month.  One of my clients reached out and asked if I wanted to participate in a campaign she dubbed #31daystowellness where she asks us to post a picture of ourselves, our family, friends, workout group, etc. engaging in a healthy and productive activity or task that shows we are embracing wellness. (You can read her entire blog post about the call for social media mental health advocacy by clicking here.) While I believe there was an emphasis on showcasing the importance between mind-body connection of mental wellness, my own practice of doing yoga, and walking, (accidentally walked a 5k over the weekend) cleared my inner chatterbox enough for me to realize that I was to really work on self-compassion for the month.

In one of my favorite go-to self-love resources “Madly In Love with Me” for the sake of a clear enough definition we can wrap our heads around: Self-compassion coupled with self-forgiveness is the choice to open your heart and be a loving witness to yourself, without judgment, by sending yourself waves of kindness, understanding, and forgiveness that touch, heal, and transform your imperfections, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and humanness through the presence of your unconditional love.

Really simple, but far from easy. After all, if it were easy we’d all be doing it. If it were easy, Brené Brown, Ph.D. and the other social science researchers she admires and references would not have to write book after book about shame resilience and vulnerability which is a call for…you guessed it, Compassion!

And so when I think about two very common cases of mental health issues, depression and anxiety,( I put those two together because nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.) I wonder how much more we could have prevented a case of malaise that spiraled into a deep melancholy and sadness, or kept the changes in our thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors from transforming into a major depressive disorder (MDD) or diagnosable anxiety disorder if we showed ourselves unconditional love and compassion; if we received it from others instead of shame, blame, bullying, discrimination, manipulation, etc.

Is compassion the end all be all? Of course not! I’m well aware that there are way too many factors that contribute to being diagnosed with mental health disorders. However, just like awareness campaigns are helping to fight stigma by exposing more people to hard-cold stats so they could get to a place where they no longer deny that people are hurting, that the suicide rate in 2014 was 13.0 per 100,000 population…activation campaigns are in order too. I know I’m not the only one thinking ok what happens after awareness? How do we create change? What is a starting point for action?  Well, why not start with compassion? But you see it’s hard to give what you do not have. It’s hard to give what you are not empathetic to within yourself.

If you yourself can’t move past your short-comings, the kind we ALL experience, if you are extremely hard and critical of yourself (I know I am), if you yourself don’t believe you are worthy just ‘cause, and not because of accolades and accomplishments, or how nice you are to the little old lady down the street, it will be all too easy for you to ask why people don’t just “get over it and move on”. It will be all too easy to treat a person you call “friend” like they are the gum on the bottom of your shoe when they have the nerve to be imperfectly human, or the gall to ask you to treat them with respect and care, it will be all too easy to say that what someone is experiencing is because that’s what those people experience, those “others” not people like you…

So while this particular awareness month is coming to an end, the journey to becoming more aware, more loving and compassionate towards ourselves and others continues on.

Until Next Time…Peace!

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