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.”

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.”

Kevin Dedner, CEO of Hurdle, on the Sociological Factors and Microaggressions Impacting Black Male Mental Health

“Beyond the factors that commonly trigger mental health issues, Black men must also carry the day to day stress of being a Black man, which often presents itself unconsciously in normal activities. Black men report experiencing racial microaggressions —insults, invalidations, and interpersonal slights (subtle and sometimes unintentional) – which are linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Black men also suffer from impostor syndrome, a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his accomplishments in professional settings and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud….. My general belief is that human beings have long held the answers to how to live well. Somewhere along the way, we lost our knowledge of the importance of self-care and restorative practices that help us cope with stress. I think the loss is wrapped up in a myriad of reasons, including western work culture and increased exposure to technology. The bottom line is that we were not designed to be as busy as we are.”

Drew Hammell or @Nikestories, on Faith, Life Operating a Prolific Instagram Sports Account and a NYC Church, and His Wellness

Despite increasing pressures to create new and original content– products of a culture that drives the multi-billion dollar influencer market that is social media–Drew has built @nikestories differently, rising to influencer status by looking to and honoring the past, pulling from archives and mixing old with the new.
Years later, with a life expanding into multiple fields and an ongoing joint project with HighSnobiety to chronicle the complete history of every Air Jordan in history, I chatted with Drew about his life behind the shoes, his unconventional work journey, and finding balance.