Mental Health Consultant and Founder Chou Hallegra on Christianity and Faith, Mental Health, and Racial Justice

How do you think the historical legacy of the Christian church has contributed to the current mental health stigma that exists in the faith community?

“Lack of knowledge perpetuates stigma. In the past, people didn’t know much about mental illness and have done horrible things to others for the sake of “curing” them of their ailments. Today, those who are not open to talking about mental illness still see those who suffer from it as people who have little to no faith. In reality, there is more that comes to play here. People can have faith and still feel depressed.”

Clinical Psychologist Jessica Lopresti on Allyship and the Mental Health Consequences of Racism

I say, often, to clients that it would be shocking if we were not experiencing mental health struggles in the context of the overwhelming racial disparities our communities are forced to deal with (e.g. housing, education, food security, employment). As people of color, we are having very natural mental health responses to a system that is set up to fail us in many domains.

Headstrong Executive and US Army Bronze Star Medal Recipient Dustin Shyrock on Supporting Veterans Mental Health & The Veterans Mental Health Non-Profit Landscape

What is one key message you want people to take away from the mental health conversation?

Dustin: I think the general misconception is that PTSD means you are permanently broken. It is just not the case. We know that we can save someone’s life. The only thing they need to do is show up.

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.”