Professional dancer Ali Deucher on Mental Health in the Dance Community: Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, and Perfectionism

What inspired you to use your platform to become an advocate for mental health?

Ali: When I started struggling, I didn’t find anyone online that I could look to. As a teenager, you live your life on social media and that can lead youth to believe everyone is perfect. If I couldn’t find anyone, why shouldn’t I be the one?

Former Tibetan Buddhist Monk Nick Ribush on a Buddhist Perspective on Mental Health and Wellbeing

“Most of my medical work (1965–71) was in hospitals, where it seemed that more than 50% of the patients were there because of the ill-effects of tobacco, alcohol or analgesics. To me, most of our work appeared to be to patch them up and send them back out into the circumstances that made them sick in the first place. These substances that were responsible were not just freely available; they were heavily advertised. I felt I could help improve people’s health more by stopping advertising and easy accessibility than by simply treating the symptoms, and to do that I would need to get out of medicine and go into politics. That was such a distasteful option that I decided to take a break and travel for a while.”

Mental Illness Activist and Author Hannah Blum on Living with Bipolar Disorder, Getting Help, and Finding a Psychiatrist

“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.”

Martha Dorn, Executive Director of The Art Therapy Project, on Art Making and Talk Therapy as Medicine

“With the country in lockdown due to COVID-19, there has been an enormous increase in discussions around mental health, mindfulness and self-care. The coloring book phenomenon, while not art therapy, stems from people experiencing how using coloring books can be therapeutic in alleviating stress. The uptick in people embracing creative pastimes during this crisis, whether making art, cooking or knitting, is very encouraging as these activities help us manage our stress and improve our mood.”

Instagram Influencer, Art Director and Photographer Eslee on Faith and Social Media Mental Health

“I do something called devotion for my wellbeing. The equivalent to this that is most easily understood would be meditation, but meditating with the Bible, and having the source of what you’re being present with as God. I go on my Bible app and go through different plans of life stages. It usually takes me about 20 minutes and I take notes! Devotions in part help me realize that there are bigger things out there to be concerned about, and learn to make the best out of any situation with perspective.”

FloraMind Co-Founder Danny Tsoi on Teenage and Children Mental Health Support and Inspiration from the Hip-Hop Education Movement

“In our opinion, it is not just about closing the gap of treatment by increasing accessibility. Instead, having culturally relevant practices that support intersectionality is needed. This means making sure that services are developed for the lived experience that different people have in order to have better outcomes. For mental health, youth are a group that has insufficient support for mental health. As teenagers, mental health challenges are often misunderstood as part of typical adolescent development, and as a result are either misdiagnosed or under-reported.”