Speaking about mental health as a community leader.

Mental health needs a voice, it needs someone brave enough to speak about the truths of it and the stigma that surrounds it as well. Being able to speak about the importance of mental health for those in your community is not only honorable it’s empowering.  Discussing this openly as a leader is important and it can help increase confidence and perspective on your current situation as well as the world around you.

Recess chatted with a few leaders in the mental health space about what it means to speak about this topic as a community leader.

Kaitlin Soule

Author and Therapist 

Kaitlin is a Therapist and Author of the upcoming book, A Little Less Of Hot Mess: The Modern Mom’s Guide to Growth and Evolution. Soule says “Speaking about mental health as a leader is one of the most impactful things you can do for your organization and the people in it - not only does it show that you are a human being who understands the complexities of life and the importance of mental health, but it shows that you truly care about their wellbeing. When leaders speak up about mental health it helps to destigmatize reaching out for help, making people feel less alone and more supported! In my experience as a Therapist and Author, once I started opening up about my own mental and emotional health,  it made my clients and audience feel more connected to me and allowed them to trust that I was walking alongside them, instead of above them,”

Kendra Koch

Health and wellness writer 

Kendra is a health and wellness writer so when I asked her what was her point of view on this subject matter she said “As a community leader, it's important for me to take care of my own mental health and lead by example. It's hard for employees to ask for a day off to care for themselves if they never see their manager do it. I try to talk openly about my mental health challenges, take ownership when I've dropped the ball due to my mental health, and take regular breaks and vacations. I also try to encourage the people I work with to do the same and offer resources to help,”

Koch goes on to say that the impact this has had within her community is creating more open, transparent relationships and happier, healthier employees!  “Taking a day off for a mental health break might spare someone from burnout down the road, which is much harder to recover from as a person and a business. I also think this type of approach helps reduce stigma and creates a more accepting, empathetic community,” she further explains.

Kelley Denison

Life Coach

Denison says that we spend 99% of our time living in our heads.  Being able to speak openly about this helps people feel less alone. As a community leader having the ability to explain the thoughts in your head can help clarify all sorts of noise and distractions that may be swarming in your head. You may even experience fear, doubt, and false perceptions from this voice. When we are connected to our thoughts we are not connected to our bodies. Our bodies hold wisdom, love, and intuition. Connecting our mind to our body through breath, movement and meditation ignite self-awareness. It is through self-awareness that we are able to self-regulate and find tools to support balance with the mind. All of this can be discovered through open conversations led by a community leader.

If we approach our days by tending to our inner world first, we are more likely to approach the outer world with more balance, more forgiveness, more peace, and more love. We become less reactive and more compassionate with ourselves and each other,” shares Denison

Being open to the experience of learning something new from any leader in the mental health space can help you battle unwanted feelings in a safe and like-minded environment.

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