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.”

Heidi Luerra, CEO of Raw Artists, on Growing Up with a Mother with Schizophrenia and Mental Health Stigma

“The distinction between diseases of “brain” and “mind,” between “neurological” problems and “psychological” or “psychiatric” ones, is an unfortunate cultural inheritance that permeates society and medicine. It reflects a basic ignorance of the relation between brain and mind. Diseases of the brain are seen as tragedies visited on people who cannot be blamed for their condition, while diseases of the mind, especially those that affect conduct and emotion, are seen as social inconveniences for which sufferers have much to answer. Individuals are to be blamed for their character flaws, defective emotional modulation, and so on; lack of willpower is supposed to be the primary problem.”

Freakquencee on Manifesting Affirmations, the Real Influence of Trauma on Her Life, and Mental Health in the Family Sphere

“I grew up in a household where discussing mental health wasn’t really a thing. As a child in my household it always seemed like the more you held in, the stronger you looked in the eyes of everyone else. Talking about mental health is still something that isn’t easily done in my family. There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding seeking therapy/counseling, some that may have turned my family off completely from seeking mental health. Some like you have to have money to afford talking to a therapist, mental health is only for crazy people, and mental health only being a thing for white people. I also believe that my family as well as many people don’t really understand what practicing positive mental health looks like. Positive mental health can be as simple as reciting positive affirmations everyday, learning to say no when you don’t agree, drawing boundaries with family, friends and associates. Taking up that favorite hobby that makes you feel good, practicing positive self esteem, working out, practicing healthier eating habits, talking about your feelings and also checking yourself when you do negative things as a human or things that may hurt others. I believe my family has to discover these truths on their own.”

Samantha Huggins on Her Wellness Regimen, Openness Versus Vulnerability, and Mental Health in Schools

“I do believe that today’s educational institutions are built to support conversations amongst youths about mental health and inclusivity. There are far more resources for students than when I was in school at the time. In one of my classes I recall spending the first half of the sessions discussing mental health and university outlets for the students if they needed any. I think credit should be given to this generation for that change. They have been at the forefront of mental health and more accepting of the concept than their older cohorts. As for the faculty, there are mandatory training courses for Diversity and Inclusivity for Professors and Directors. We have to take these courses and be “certified” every year before the school semester begins. This is all geared to be of better service to the student body. With that being said, I don’t think there is enough mental health support for the faculty. That is something that can be improved.”