A Conversation about Mental Health

This week, I had the honor and privilege of speaking with two qualified professionals in the mental health field on the Lead Different podcast.

Liz LLamas is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Cristina Henderson spent many years as a school psychologist in the Alum Rock School District in San Jose. 

This conversation was energizing and eye-opening for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Mental health can be a difficult topic to talk about, but after two years of pandemic life it is more important than ever to educate ourselves and destigmatize the conversation around our mental and emotional well-being.

According to Mental Health America, a growing percentage of young people in America have major depression, but over 60% of young people with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Across the country, less than 1 in 3 young people with severe depression receive mental health care consistently. In another survey, 71% of parents said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health. 

You may be wondering what this discussion has to do with leadership. One quote that Liz introduced gives us the answer:

A person’s life story and leadership story are one and the same.

Doug Conant, former CEO Campbell Soup

As we discuss in this episode, everyone has mental health that needs to be taken care of—regardless of whether or not you have a diagnosis. Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. 

Understanding, taking care of, and when needed seeking help for our mental well-being are key ways we can work on our personal stories. Our ability to lead and influence others is dependent on our own self-awareness. We can only lead others where we ourselves have gone.

I hope you, as I did, enjoy this engaging and enlightening conversation with Liz and Cristina as we discuss the need to prioritize taking care of our mental health, especially as we come out of a world-changing pandemic.

About our guests

Liz Llamas – Liz Llamas has over 20 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist. She got her BA in General Psychology from San Francisco State University and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. She works as a marriage and family therapist supporting youth and young adults with Psychological Services and Personal Counseling at Skyline College. She also spent time as an Adjunct Lecturer at her alma mater, Santa Clara University. She is a co-founder of the nonprofit CASSY (Counseling  and Support Services for Youth) which has established school based mental health programs in 54 elementary and high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Cristina Henderson – Cristina Henderson received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Cal State Long Beach. Then she went on to get her Master’s with Credentials in School Psychology from Cal State East Bay. She spent a number of years as a school psychologist for the Alum Rock School District in San Jose, California, where she worked with elementary and middle school students. Cristina now works in the full-time ministry along with her husband Ade. She mentors people of all life-stages, from high school to college to young professionals and families.

Transcript

Russ Ewell 0:25
Welcome to lead different. My name is Russ Ewell and we have a very interesting and useful podcast today the theme is going to be a conversation about mental health. And by the time you hear this, we may even change the title based on the content of our podcast today. But we’re fortunate enough to have two guests, who I think are going to help stay with the mission of Lee different, which is to discover the intricate interplay between our intellectual, emotional and spiritual selves. Our guests today are Liz Llamas and Christina Henderson. Liz has over 10 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist. She got her BA in general psychology from San Francisco State University, and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. She works as a marriage family therapist with psychological services and personal counseling at Skyline college having experience working in supporting youth and young adults. She also spent time as an adjunct lecturer at her alma mater, Santa Clara University’s Go Broncos, Christina Henderson received her bachelor’s in psychology from Cal State Long Beach, then went on to get a master’s with credentials in School Psychology from Cal State East Bay. She spent a number of years as a school psychologist for the Alum Rock School District working with elementary and middle school students. With that background of school psychology, Christina now works the full time ministry along with her husband a day, she mentors people of all life stages, from high school to college to young professionals and families. And one of the reasons that I’m excited to have Liz and Christina on our podcast is because oftentimes, we end up talking about mental health with people who haven’t been on the ground and actually working with people day to day, which I think is one of the great, great works and challenging works that exist. And I’m fortunate enough to be able to know them. And today hope by our conversation to help all of you, like me, we’re facing the results, the impact of a two year pandemic, a number of writers have written about the fact that after 2020 to 2022, we’re going to have to spend a lot of time recovering from the impact of the pandemic. And some of that impact is being seen, even today in mental health of America, release it for 2022 state of mental health in America report. And I just want to hit that before we bring in Liz and Christina, to talk to us about it. Some of the interesting facts that I’ve found that made me sober to the reality of mental health, is it 4.58% of adults report having serious thoughts of suicide, this is increased every year since 2011 2012 4.58%. Now to put a little bit of a frame around that nearly 50 million Americans are 19.8% of American adults experienced a mental illness in 2019. So what you’re talking about is there’s 50 million Americans who experienced mental illness. And out of that number a significant amount are considering suicide. Over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment, one in three are going without any treatment at all. More than half of adults with mental illness do not receive treatment. That’s 27 million US adults who have a mental illness, but do not receive treatment. 10.6%, or over 2.5 million youth in the US have severe major depression, this rate was highest among youth who identify as more than one race at 14.5%. That’s a lot of numbers. But what I want you to see is what I saw, which is that it many times is an invisible impact. We don’t always know that a person has an emotional challenge. And so they’re walking around us. And it’s not just someone who’s homeless, it’s our friend. It’s our neighbor, it’s our classmate. It may be our spouse, it may be our kid, and we may not see it right away. We may not know it. 8.1% of children had private insurance that did not cover mental health. That’s 950,000 Students 950,000 youth who do not have an insurance that will even cover their ability to get mental health treatment in America today when looking at the landscape of mental health. A group like mental health in America talks about the fact that this is not just adults with mental illness. It’s those with a substance use disorder. Those who have thoughts Suicide, who have major depressive episodes who have cognitive disability who could not see a doctor due to cost, it is a wide swath of people, including mental health workforce availability being a problem. In other words, there are not enough people in every community to meet the need, which is so incredibly strong and so incredibly significant. And so I want to bring Liz and Christina into this conversation, which they’re going to be educating you far more than me, I’m a student or a listener and a learner. And I want to start out with a question. And maybe Liz, I’ll get you to jump in here. Why is it especially important to be talking about mental health now, after two years of pandemic life?

Liz Llamas 5:42
Well, first of all, I’m really excited to be here, thank you for inviting me, I’m a big fan of the lead, different podcast, so I’m just really excited to be here. Um, you know, I don’t think we cannot talk about the impact of the pandemic on mental health. I think this is a really important conversation, the California Surgeon General has identified four areas of significant impact number one, social isolation, number two financial insecurity, unemployment, and something called adverse childhood experiences, which I hope to talk about a little bit later if we if we have time. But I think the main thing to think about when we think about the impact of all those different things is that all those things can drive increases in death by suicide, overdose, and illness. So when we think about those things, you know, sort of isolated, you can think, Okay, well, maybe this hit me during this pandemic, maybe this didn’t hit me, but when you look at them collectively, and you look, and you see that those are driving factors of really significant impact, life changing, you know, when we think about suicide, we think about what’s called the ripple effect, there’s a movie about that, because these things, not only, obviously impact the individual, but many people around them, you know, this is just an imperative conversation to be having at this time. We also know that, in particular, particular, our youth has been impacted by this pandemic in a very significant way. You know, because a lot of their protective factors have been removed, like school closures, you know, our teachers are on the frontline, and really identifying these behaviors and making referrals to kids who are having a really hard time. And when schools closed a lot of that, you know, attention and eyes on them, you know, were really eliminated. And additionally, a lot of students, kids, adolescents are receiving mental health through school based mental health systems. And so we had to quickly pivot when the pandemic happened. But, of course, disruptions were happening in their mental health care and the continuity of the care. I do also want to highlight that Hispanics and black Americans reported highest rates of anxiety and depression. And I think that’s really important to note as well. We can talk about many of those things later on, as well. But those are the main things, I think this is a conversation that has to be had, at this time.

Russ Ewell 8:21
That’s great. Those are sobering and helpful to Christina.

Christina Henderson 8:25
You know, I’m excited to be here too. But I think what Liz said was really helpful, I’ve just, you know, I just have seen that it has affected all of us whether you have met, you know, diagnosed mental health or not, it doesn’t matter, it’s affected I, a friend sent me a picture the other day of like, two years ago when she was in a grocery line, and the long lines and like, the full cards with food and all that stuff. And I was like, I don’t even really look at that, because it just brought up stress and brought up emotions of like, those are hard times, those were lonely times, those were, you know, so it’s affected all of us. But, you know, it’s people are worn out, people are, you know, they’ve been, you know, going through this for two years, and some people have just, you know, they’ve had emotional health, but the, the pandemic has brought it out, like they didn’t know that they had something and there’s people with newly diagnosed, you know, things in their life, and they’re having to not only deal with re entering into face to face, you know, contact and, you know, being back another social, you know, I’m back into our social life, but they’re having to deal with this new this new area of their life and how to, how to navigate that how to navigate all this. It’s, I think it’s just something that we have to talk more about, because we’re all experiencing some level of, you know, some level of impact on our emotions on our emotional health. And I think this is just a commerce station that helps it be more normalized, when we’re all just, you know, talking about that doesn’t feel like such a stigma or something. So, I guess, you know, some, some people can feel like it’s bad or it’s something you know, you don’t want to take on. But um, but it’s healthy to talk about, you know, what, what we have felt and what we’ve experienced,

Russ Ewell 10:19
I’m gonna be curious, you know, and I know, it impacted me my blood pressure went from fine to leaping up. And I was like, what happened? And my doctor was like, you know, you’ve been in a two years of pandemic. And that’s, that’s had an impact on you. But why do you think it is? And I can, I’m going to go back to Liz on this. And I’ll come back to you, Christina, why do you think it’s so difficult for us to have conversations about mental health? It’s almost like, you know, they’ll say, it’s difficult to have conversations about race. And I think that’s true. But and I’m not going to try to equate these two, but I’m trying to talk about, there’s certain things that we we seem to have difficulty talking about almost like we want them to magically go away or, or something like that. But you guys have experience in starting with Liz, maybe you can just tell me from your experience, your observation. Why do people have such difficult? Why do we have such difficulty talking about this?

Liz Llamas 11:07
Yeah, I mean, I think that the reality of it is, is that there is stigma around mental health? I mean, I think the number one question students have, when they come see me is, Liz, does this mean, I’m crazy? Number one, you know, does this mean? I’m crazy? Another question I get is, does this mean I’m going to be in treatment forever? You know, am I going to always have to come see a therapist? The answer to that is no, we all have situations in our life, that map out our coping mechanisms, if you will. And so and then another third, you know, sort of myth, if you will, is that often students come in and think I’m going to have to go on medication, right. So when you think about the, you know, having those thoughts in your head about, I’m going to be in therapy for the rest of my life. This means that I’m crazy. And I’m going to be on medication that don’t, those definitely can serve as barriers to wanting to have this important conversation. What I always like to tell people is that we all have mental health. And I think it’d be, you know, important to maybe start with a definition about what is mental health. And I recently heard one that I really liked from somebody called Jay Stevenson. It was a training that I went to over at College of San Mateo, but they defined mental health as our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Mental health affects how we think, feel and act. And when I think about I go, Yeah, we all have mental health, you know, this impacts all of us, we all have emotions, we all, we all have our sort of psychological and social well being, you know, and it affects how we think, feel and act, you know, and so I think that really, um, you know, having these conversations around, like Christina said, normalizing mental health, having, you know, clear and distinct definitions about what that means. We’re really trying to move away from thinking about mental health as mental disorders. Yeah, now we’re thinking we’re, we’re starting to really look at this more holistically, I think that can really help break down some of those barriers around having these important conversations.

Russ Ewell 13:08
Yeah, I like it. Because, you know, it’s interesting to me that if someone says they’re going to see if an athlete, a superior athlete says, you’re seeing a sports psychologist, everybody’s like, man, he’s getting his performance down. He’s really right. But I know sports psychologists and they work on your mind. But that’s okay. But as soon as you go see, as a psychologist, for sustaining some stuff, some level of quality of life, in living your day to day life, somehow that’s bad, or that’s wrong. And I like the fact that they’re moving away from disorder. Because I think that that is absolutely I know, in my conversations with men in particular, as soon as you suggest the possibility that, Hey, have you ever looked at mental health, they automatically think You think they’re crazy, or, or less, or whatever. And I know for me, I look at my emotional condition all the time. And I think emotional condition in mental health, are there two sides of the same coin, probably they’re the same thing. But hopefully, in our conversation, as people listen, they’ll get more comfortable with the fact that what I know, I’ve been trying to do educating ourselves better. So we understand this. And I over the pandemic had challenges with my hips, from sitting so much. I went to a physical therapist, and she’s been working with me and you know, getting everything sorted out. But one day she was talking, she goes, Well, you know, sometimes these things are affected by personality. She goes, Well, that’s not what I want to say. I know. I said, No, go ahead and say, she goes well, that that kind of personality you have can affect your flexibility can and I was like no, I want to know that. And I think sometimes we don’t you know people are afraid to tell us things that may imply that our personality or our mindset or whatever, and if we can get more comfortable talking about that. I think everybody will do better, Christina In particular, you, you’ve been around, you’ve worked in schools. And I know when I was in school, high school, the last person I wanted to go see was a counselor, anytime guy, any any guy didn’t want to be seen in a counselor’s office, I didn’t want to, you know, at that kind of thing. I assume that that’s changed somewhat, but so that we can kind of get into that lane about why it’s so difficult. I’d like you to zero in on, why do you think it’s so difficult for high school adolescent age kids,

Christina Henderson 15:29
I just think there’s so much pressure already, you know, in high school, you want you don’t want to appear weak or insecure, or, you know, just that you have any, you know, limitations. And so, you know, you’re trying to prove yourself, we can already feel that as an adult, but you know, as teens, it’s 100 times harder. And so, I think, you know, it’s, I think that there’s just level of they, they feel that there’s something going on, but they also feel this self doubt of is there really something there? You know, it’s easy to minimize and be like, you know, no, I don’t think you know, that, I don’t think I have this limitation, I think I just have to work harder, I think I have to, you know, perform better or whatever. But, um, but I think, you know, they’re still trying to figure themselves out, they’re still trying to figure out who am I, you know, how do I function, what are all my emotions, all those things. And so, I think it gets missed a lot of times, you know, and in the, in, whether it’s in schools, or whether it’s, you know, at home, we can just think, Oh, they’re just having a hard time, you know, they’re just emotional, they’re just teenagers, but not see that there’s really something going on, and it’s hard for them to want to admit something is going on, right, you know, working as a school psychologist, you know, I worked more in the arena of working in special education and kids with special needs, but I also was there to be able to help with emotional health. But the hard thing is in the schools, at least what I experienced in my schools that I worked at, you’re doing so much paperwork, you’re doing so much, um, you know, just meetings and those kinds of things. So many kids get missed that need help. And so, you know, I think on top of that, there isn’t someone always in the schools that is ready to, or has the time, I guess, to be able to help these kids. So I think there isn’t as much push in the schools as well to be able to, to help the kids with emotional health. Right. So those are just some things I’ve seen,

Russ Ewell 17:37
guys say. So it sounds like and I think Liz is saying the same thing. There’s a complex set of pressures and issues going on in people’s everyday life, which is our everyday emotional health. And, and then sometimes there’s those things that that begin to, I would, I guess, if I looked at that definition you gave from Stevenson, lists, there’s, there’s your everyday and emotional health, and then those those things that take you beyond that, or you begin to have experiences that are that are greater than what might be typical. And and hopefully, as we go along, we’ll we’ll talk about how to sort that out. Because I’ve seen in cases where, where people don’t want to look at their emotional at all. And then cases where people think they’ve got everything out there, you know, they hear that a friend has something and they go, I think I’ve got that too. I had a guy New Years ago, he read a book on mental health, and there was a checklist in there on depression. And he called me he’s like, I think I have depression. And he read off every checklist. And you know, those those checklists are a little tricky, right? Because if you can become every one of them if I want to. And so I think it’s that’s why I think it’s good to have the conversation so people can kind of get a little more educated, have something to work with. And of course not be afraid even if you get the checklist and you think it’s true and not be afraid to go see somebody and ask the questions. Let me just run something by you here a little bit. In looking at how serious is the mental health impact of this two year pandemic, I was looking at an article in The New York Times called crisis hotline grows, but there’s a fear at won’t be ready. And they talked about a major reboot for mental health, creating a new digital number or a new three digit number 988 for mental health calls. And the operators will not only counsel callers but eventually be equipped to dispatch specially trained responders, which I thought was really good. But then they talked about that already have the approximately 2 million phone calls to the lifeline last year, about 330,000 roughly 17% were abandoned before a caller could get help. And they pointed out that the reason they could they couldn’t get help is callers blamed hold times and call center directors but no unlimited capacity. You mentioned something a bit ago Christina and you said that one of the challenges in working in mental health and I’m going to expand it to all mental health is there’s paperwork to be done. And there’s there’s there’s I guess administrative stuff to be done. And so it becomes difficult And Liz alluded to the teachers have to be the eyes on which boy that was, uh, that really kind of shook me a little bit less, because I’m like, Oh man, schools were canceled, no teachers to look. So that means if a parent doesn’t see it, and parents were under stress, which makes me wonder if we’re going to see more of this come out as the months and years go by from the pandemic. But as, as you as you hear those numbers, and that that 330,000 people, the call was abandoned. I don’t know how usual that is. But I think what I’m pointing to is, with all of the pandemic challenges, and the mental health challenge, do you guys see it as a significant challenge to get mental health help? And is that something that’s always going on? Because if someone’s a parent listening right now, and they say, Man, I want my kid to get help, I don’t know where to go, or I don’t know how to find it. I know that sometimes the waitlist are months to get in to see somebody. I’ve heard that. But I know, that’s a broad question. But can you kind of address the idea that, yes, it’s significant? Yes. You know, it can be hard to find somebody, here’s how to think about it. And here’s what to do. Maybe you guys can tackle that. Liz, you want to go first?

Liz Llamas 21:18
Sure. Yeah, you know, actually, it’s really interesting, because I think also, too, by the time people make that call, they’re under so much duress, you know, so, you know, I think that waiting on the phone for, and we get that feedback, too, for the crisis line, I mean, it’s not a perfect system, there definitely has been a lot of effort put into that, you know, like, the Crisis Text Line is excellent. But we do, you know, we help students, sometimes when we’re trying to get them connected to their insurance provider, you know, we are sitting in the office with them. And a story comes to mind where, you know, I recall, I mean, for us, you know, we’re trained clinicians, this is not the first time we’re dealing, I mean, it took, like, over an hour, wow. And I could just imagine, we were sitting with this young person, and, you know, really depressed really down, I mean, the amount of energy that that takes, um, to find the number, first of all, our students don’t even have their insurance card, you know, some of them, you know, don’t are still under their parent’s insurance. So they don’t want to know, their parents, you know, they don’t want that get get that explanation of benefits to come. And there’s been some new law around legislation around that, which is positive. But we, you know, navigating that system, getting, you know, you know, getting a member ID number, trying to get the appointment, then the follow up, you know, I had to sit there and pause for a moment and go, This is really hard. Yeah, um, you know, and so, and I’ve often thought about, you know, maybe expanding even our services to help with that component of it. I would say the majority of calls that I get from parents are, how do I even begin this process of trying to find somebody, it’s, it’s really difficult, um, and when you, you know, put in there other barriers, like, you know, people’s work schedules or rigorous insurance issues, you know, it’s not easy. I always tell people, you know, this, this is not going to be quick, just hang in there. Yeah. And try to find some things in the interim that your child can do, whether it’s, you know, extra time with friends, or, you know, maybe you guys can attend this class together, listen to this podcast, like, how do you supplement it? How do you, you know, contain your child during this period, when you’re trying to figure this out and navigate this, it is not easy. I tell people stick with it. Um, I’d have to say, our services here at Skyline. We’re doing way more case management. And I think to your point for us, it’s because there are these delays and whatnot. And we do have after hours cares that a lot of our students are utilizing too. And there are some exciting things happening in the county with Stark Vista partnering with the police departments to go out on these welfare checks and have a trained mental health provider. Not every police department has it, but it’s a pilot program. And that’s exciting. But it’s not an easy thing to navigate. And so as much support as people can get around that and, and I think that’s the kind of useful information parents can really share. Like, this is what I did. These are the steps that I took, can really help circumvent some of those things, but it’s not easy. It’s

Russ Ewell 24:29
important for our listeners, whether you’re someone who has mental challenges you have a family member or a friend, it’s important to understand or to listen to and hear I’m hearing you is that you you gotta be in it for the long haul. You can’t just think it’s gonna be quick just because the system is overloaded. I think that’s pretty much you’re saying it’s like, it’s not like people are trying to fail us or not come through. It’s that there’s just a lot of work to be done. And it’s painful to hear you tell the story which I can visualize it of a kid who’s finally made their way and and figured it out and now they Gotta wait because of insurance, which you can see why people want insurance reform and all that in those situations where it would be nice that a kid could just walk in and automatically be covered by something. That kind of a situation of duress. Here’s a couple of things for you, Christina to think about, maybe comment on in the same article that I referenced from New York Times. 1000 parents were surveyed by the H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago 71% of parents said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health, which again goes back that would elicit a defined as mental health, that it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be on medication, it doesn’t even necessarily mean they have to go see a therapist, but that their mental health has been affected negatively 69% said the pandemic was the worst thing to happen to their child. I mean, I’m not I can believe that. But that’s that’s intense 3300 high schoolers. In at of a national survey of 3300, high schoolers, a third of the students felt unhappy and depressed. And I again, that goes back to some things both you’ve been talking about isolation, not being able to see your friends, etc, etc. But when you hear that, and this is gonna be a tough question, Christina, I’m gonna let you have anyway, when you hear that, let’s say a parent is sitting there saying, This is the worst thing that’s happened to my kid. I think it’s taken a toll on them. I’m tired. I don’t, I don’t have insurance. And maybe we’ll even cover mental health. I don’t know what to do. But I know I need to do something. What advice would you give them obviously can’t solve the problem. But what advice would you give them? It could be mindset, IT guy lives already gave some advice. It could be mindset, it could be approach, it could be the first place to call who to go to? Can you give a little help on that?

Christina Henderson 26:48
Yeah, I mean, you know, it makes me think of, you know, I have a three year old. And so I feel like she I feel grateful in the sense that she She was so young, you know, it didn’t, it didn’t have the impact that it did, you know, on an adolescent, but I even see the impacts on her of you know, it took her this whole she’s in preschool took her this whole school year, I feel like she just recently she started being more social. And so you know, it’s really impacted. Like, we’re, you know, we’re all talking about it’s really impacted. Kids anxiety, kids, you know, feeling more insecure, you know, and just, you know, just their their whole social life, I would say, but it I mean, it’s, at first I think we have to look at how are we feeling about it, you know, how are like, you know, how are how, you know, how are we viewing it, because I know for myself, as you know, I my like I said, my, I have a three year old she has speech a speech delays, and so you know, not the same as emotional health, but it’s still a need. And so I’ve had to first look at, you know, how am I approaching this? How am I, you know, how am I going to take this on? And how am I feeling about it, but then, you know, work through that and put that aside and be like, how do I focus on my child? And what did they need? Not what’s going to be better, just beneficial or easy for me, but what, you know, what, what do I need to do to advocate for them? What do I need to do to help them? I wrote this article recently, it said, you know, during the pandemic, that, you know, like, you were saying, you know, there’s been such an increase in kids having more emotional health, there’s a 24%, you know, visits, visits increase for 24%, for children, ages five to 11, and 31%, for those ages 12 to 17, with 2019, emergency department visits, and so there’s just been a great increase in kids that have, you know, just a lot of challenges needs right now. And so I think we do have to take a step back and be like, what,

Liz Llamas 28:54
what, what is that?

Christina Henderson 28:56
What is that child going to need right now? How can I support them? How can I, you know, like, what Liz was saying, How do I have to stick in there, and make sure that they get the help they need? Whether and how do I make sure that they have a friend group, even right now, that is going to be something that’s going to support them? And help them through these challenges? You know, how can I make sure that they have social interactions, all those things, you know, helping them helping them have talks at home, even where they can just talk through, you know, how are they feeling with a team, they’re not always gonna want to sit down and have a talk, sometimes it’s taking them out to ice cream, sometimes it’s taking them you know, out to, you know, to a movie, and then they’ll feel more comfortable talking afterwards or talking about things that they enjoy. But I think just giving them environments where that they can, you know, talk through these things in the interim while they’re waiting for, you know, more, more therapy or more help.

Russ Ewell 29:48
Well, I think I think it’s great. I you know, it’s it’s interesting as I’m listening to both of you, um, one thing, Liz, I, I think when I’m listening to that about helping parents and helping students is And I’ve done a lot of reading on this because you know, we have special needs kids and, and so I, I do a lot of reading, I always try to remember I’m not, I’m not a professional. Because what the reading does for me is it allows me to have a conversation with a professional. And and I think that it’s important as a parent that I sit down and go, I’m not a professional, I didn’t study this, I haven’t had 510 20 years of experience at it, and I don’t need to be, but I can learn enough so that I can understand my kid a little bit better. And I can have conversation with professionals to understand my kid better. And some of the things that I’ve seen and talking to friends and my own experiences, making sure we talk to professionals, even the professionals to sue our kids, whether it’s a physical therapist is a psychotherapist, it’s a coach, it’s whoever it is, making sure we’re talking to them. But maybe you can just briefly let us go through because I think one thing sometimes parents don’t understand is you have therapists you have general therapists, you have Marriage and Family Therapist, you have clinical psychologist, you have psychologist, you have psychiatrist you have, you know, the list is is long. And I think sometimes people don’t know who they need to see when or where, and then you have your general practitioner. Yeah, and I and we’re gonna put a disclaimer on here that we’re not giving advice, medical advice, I’m not giving therapeutic advice, and my producer will make sure that’s on there. And everybody needs to understand we kind of got going, is it that this is not meant to be medical advice is not to be to be psychological advice is meant to be a conversation, that helps you sort of begin to have a conversation with your spouse, your child, your friend about it, and then be able to, you know, access some of the articles, we’ll put in the show notes, you can look at those, you can read those and follow some of the links will probably take, even if you have a one or two lists, we’ll put some links in there for crisis hotlines, things like that, that people can see where they can go get help. This isn’t meant to be that this isn’t meant to tree. But what’s a good starting point for somebody if they have a friend who’s an adult, a spouse, a kid, whatever it may be, what’s a good starting point, if they want to point say to somebody, Hey, I think you should start here and go see this person to begin your journey of looking at your emotional health, it doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it doesn’t even mean you have a diagnosis, but it might be good to go check that out would be a good starting point in your mind.

Liz Llamas 32:21
Yeah, I always, definitely recommend to begin with your primary care physician. Because sometimes there are physiological things going on that can manifest in anxiety, depression, you know, symptoms of depression, and maybe not be that we know that thyroid, you know, low thyroid functioning, high thyroid function can affect that. So I always tell people, adults, you know, a lot of times, because I work with college students, many of them, they might be 20 years old, and they are still they only have a pediatrician. And so now, you know, they’ve now grown, you know, Dr. So and so they need time to you know, see another kind of doctor, you know, don’t physician or some, you know, whatever. And so, anyway, so we always start there, like, you know, go see your primary care physician, let’s rule out if there’s any kind of physiological thing going on for you. And then and that kind of sparks the conversation with their doctor. Yeah, because right now a lot of my physician friends are actually because we there is a shortage of psychiatrist out there, there are a lot of my physician friends are actually the ones prescribing. And I’d say lots of my students are getting prescribed their antidepressants, antenk from their primary care physician, and some insurance policies, you know, differ and how they want, they actually allow you to go see a psychiatrist. So I always say start with the doctor, primary care physician, and make sure there’s not anything else physical going on, that’ll prompt the conversation around what’s going on with you emotionally with them. And then they could make a proper referral within network. And so I always say, just start there, it’s a good place to start for children, adolescents, adults, just start with your primary care physician.

Russ Ewell 34:04
And that should be encouraging to people because I think it’s a lot easier to get into your, your, your primary care physician than it can be to get into someone else. That clinical psychologist in a marriage event, it’s a lot easier to get in and get started in the process. And then the referral is really important. And I think too, that you know, I noticed during the pandemic, I put off a lot of stuff. Medically, yeah, so even as you were talking about Christina, maybe the first place for a person to start, whether it’s a friend because we often can project and go you know, I can be sitting there and going, Christina, you have a lot of anxiety. You got a lot but I have anxiety, my wife will tell me that I’ll be like, Okay, everybody calm down. She goes, Well, maybe you should start by you calm down. I think everybody has to be careful, you know, trying to diagnose somebody else and a good place for everybody to start after the pandemic is when’s the last time you saw your doctor and I think great thing that you mentioned Liz’s, you know, maybe time to move on from the pediatrician. Sure. I was one of those college students. I mean, I didn’t even go to the doctor, I was like, I don’t have time to go to the doctor was it doctor for I’m an elite athlete, I don’t need a doctor, you know, and there’s a lot of other stuff going on. I think the thing that Christina was referring to, are the things they say are affecting kids. And I’m gonna sort of describe it, there’s a quote from an article that says the grief, anxiety and depression children have experienced during the pandemic is welling over into classrooms and hallways, resulting in crying and disruptive behavior in many younger kids and increase violence and bullying among adolescents. For many other children who keep their sadness and fear inside, the pressures of school have become too great. That the thing that I see in that this is an article COVID harmed kids mental health, and Pew Charitable Trust is quoted all of these articles referred to will be link. But it’s talking about all of the difficulty and challenges resulting in, in in the pandemic. And just to encourage everybody, I remember you saying this list, that people shouldn’t think that they’re going to be in treatment forever, I’ve got to be on medication forever. And I think that can scare people, or that I’ve got to carry some label forever. And so as we look at all of this, one of the things I want to go to the you mentioned, Christina, is we need to talk and I’m going to be moving next into some, you know, how do you deal with someone who doesn’t want treatment, but we need to talk? The reason that that’s important is I think sometimes I know, as a parent, with my kids, I’m tired. I’ve been talking to people all day, I’ve been working all day. And I’ve talked to people and I’ve said, you know, I’ve had to really set my mind during the pandemic, to be willing to sit down and have two hour conversations, what I’ve learned in my life is teenagers want to talk. Now, whether they want to talk to you or not, is another question. And here’s what I figured out. This is not me being any kind of therapist and me being just a human being. What I figured out is when I have a bunch of stuff on my mind, and I’m in a hurry, and I’m thinking about what I need to get done or where I want to be, or that I don’t want to have the conversation, I project emotions, and I create an environment where that kid really doesn’t think I want to talk also I’ve seen in my life in both working with teenagers and having having my own is that I will not always willing to be patient enough to listen. And so I want to hear I want to hear the whole thing in the first 10 minutes. Give it to me now. And sometimes you got to wait an hour to begin the conversation. It takes like an hour to actually the conversation to start. And so I think it’s important for all of our our and this is true of friends. I’ve noticed sometimes people are like, Well, I tried to talk to that individual about this, this or that. But they were so stressed out and they were so anxious, and they were so in a hurry. They really projected I don’t want to have this conversation. Why do you think it is either one of you can answer this question. Why do you think it is just so hard for us as people to talk not just to teenagers, but to adults? Because it seems to me that even the even the science behind it says that there are situations where talk therapy is is equally as good as medication. And I obviously I’m talking about professionals there. But I think it seems like there’s an under underestimation of the power of talk, Sherry, I think it’s Shelley or Sherry Turkle will find the book, she talks about how technology has made us turn everything into texting, and social media. And so people no longer talk face to face. And I’m just kind of going off on what you guys have been saying. Tell me what you see. And tell me what you think about the absence of talk in everyday life, and how that could potentially help people just to at least have a floor underneath their feet before they even see a therapist or they get mental health help? How can that? How can that make a difference? Either one you want to tackle that question?

Christina Henderson 38:57
I mean, I think for me, it even for myself, it can be hard to talk, you know, and just, you know, I can get insecurities about are people going to really want to hear what I have to say, you know, or I can’t have a fear of rejection, you know, at different times. And so, I think those things can, you know, the fears that can make it hard to want to, you know, talk and, you know, again, it’s going to expose different needs or weaknesses, you know, or you know, that we can we can have, but I think whenever I see whether it’s myself, whether it’s you know, teenagers that I work with or college students, you know, or even adults, when they actually let down and talk about what’s really going on it’s there’s a therapeutic effect there. There’s a there’s just an refreshment of I get out my emotions, I get out what I’m really thinking and they get new perspective through that because when we’re in our minds, it’s you know, you’re not always thinking the most clearly you’re not it could be more negative self talk up there. It could be more you know, of the fears up there. But we need perspective we need, you know, a friend that’s going to tell us no, that’s actually not what I’m thinking or that’s not you know what’s true, and, you know, guide us through that. And so, you know, sometimes, we also do need people to just let us you know, sit there and kind of, you know, some people, it takes a while to, you know, really figure out what you’re feeling what you’re thinking, you just need a friend to sit there with you. But I do think it is helpful for us to to just get out those thoughts. Because I think even again, with thing, you know, how it’s affected teenagers, they spent a lot of time in their rooms over the pandemic, because they didn’t want to, you know, they had to do school resume, they had to do you know, all these things online, but they were so you know, in the room, just in their heads, not talking to anyone. And I think that’s how to a great effect on them as well, it’s had an effect on all of us. But

Russ Ewell 40:50
you know, it’s interesting, because I think sometimes one of the difficulties and having conversations, and I’m speaking as a person who talks, just talks to people, is when someone has suppressed, and I’m sure Liz will have a wealth of thoughts, and I’m curious how she even gets people to talk. But when someone suppresses their emotions, sometimes the first clear cut, communicated emotion is anger at the person who’s trying to get him to talk. And what I found in talking to people, both in the nonprofit sector where I work in the for profit sector, and in the spiritual realm, is it, we oftentimes quit when someone shows anger, because it makes us makes us feel bad. But what I’ve discovered in life is that oftentimes, anger is like, and there’s a Stanford psychologist, I read, I don’t remember his name right now. But he said, anger is usually a secondary, or a tertiary, a third, an actual reaction or emotion. And so when the anger comes out, I always think, well, there’s, there’s, there’s probably something more real and substantial behind that. And so in when we talk to people, I’m not talking as a therapist, obviously, I’m just talking this person, I think, sometimes we have to ignore and put aside the anger that someone is is expressing, they may even say they’re angry at us. But oftentimes, if we can stay in that conversation, then we can get them to talk about what really goes on. But let me get this over to Sony knows what they’re talking about. Liz, what’s your thoughts on? How do we get people to talk more?

Liz Llamas 42:20
I love this question, isn’t she I just listened to you. I’ve been listening to Brene Brown, one of her, you know, her podcasts of Atlas of the heart, she’s great. Yeah, she’s great. She talks about, you know, the, the key to communication, right is is finding language. And so and a lot of times people, you know, their go to languages, I’m mad like you, you were indicating recce and, and we know that, you know what we say that that’s your, that’s like the skin, and, you know, you kind of got to go, you know, but beyond that kind of thing, but oftentimes people might say they’re mad when they’re actually, um, you know, disappointed or profoundly filled with grief, you know, but trying to find those words, you know, in my sessions with students, I, we often bring out the feeling chart, and I’m like, you know, just bring it out, because one of the first steps we’re doing is trying to expand that emotional language. And just starting to give people the words besides mad, sad, glad, you know, getting beyond those first tier words and, and start to begin to really have some depth in their expression of emotions. So I think finding that common language and maybe that’s talking for some people, maybe it’s not, maybe it’s listening to a song together, and then talking about the song, you know, maybe it’s a right, you know, texting back and forth. You know, for some of us, it is talking and having that kind of face to face. For some of us, it’s just communicating in all its various forms. I think that’s the thing is just finding that right fit for you. How do you best communicate and making sure that you get that regularly? I think that’s really important to having those, you know, meaningful conversations that are really important to, you know, our mental health. So yeah, I think that finding that common language, um, other things, you know, somebody I really love a lot is Tara Brock, and she’s an American psychologist, she does a lot of like, guided meditation. And she talked about, like, blocks to spirituality. And she was talking about that and, and she talked about, you know, that she called it aggressive, bad othering you know, when we’re this regret and this aggression, and we’re making everybody bad and othering them, but she really talks about that as being really cut off from your emotion. So either like being really numbed out about things, or getting so overwhelmed. And I think that’s what can happen sometimes for people is that they’re like, I have too much on my plate. I can’t listen to you, like you mentioned, or they’re like, they don’t even see it. You know, they’re like, ah, they don’t even see it. They’re just numb or blinded to or they can’t take in anything. More. And she talked about that as a block to spirituality. And she really talked about like, Well, how do you really begin to reengage with people? And I think it’s just, you know, sometimes I do think something as basic as scheduling it in, you know, like, you know, I’m gonna spend time on this day, and we’re just gonna catch up. You know, and I think for some people, maybe and, you know, 10 minutes is just enough. Yes. You know, I don’t think everybody needs an hour long conversation. And also, I want to put this in there, because I alluded to it in the beginning, that being trauma informed, is really important. Because for some people, if you grew up where a talk was always that you were in trouble. Yeah. And any, the only time your parents ever talked to you is when you were in trouble. You were going to get discipline, and somebody reaches out to you. It’s like, hey, let’s have a talk. For those people there. Their background story is going to be I’m in trouble. Yeah, what did I do wrong? You’re mad at me about something right? You know, and so really being curious, staying really curious with people and trying to figure out, you know, like, who are you? Where do you come from, you know, what’s your background? What does it mean to you, when I say let’s go hang out, you know, and they might say, I think I’m in trouble. I think I’ve messed up in some way, you know. So those are some things that come to mind.

Russ Ewell 46:18
What I like about what you’re talking about is and again, we’ve covered a lot of things. For those listening, and I’ve already said it, I’m gonna say it again, we’re not trying to get treatment advice, you’ll need to go to the show notes. And you’ll get links to articles, we’ll put up some links in there to crisis hotlines, and and other other resources that you can go find. And you can just get, you can even go to do some searching in the internet research on your own. But as Liz said, go to your primary care provider and see them if you have any concerns. One of the things I’ve noticed is that and I like what you’re talking about people, I think we as people sometimes don’t want to have depth. And depth means getting that that frame, who are you? Where do you come from? What is your experience. And for years, I had a internship in the inner city of Boston for years, working with teenage kids. And one of the things is they had some challenging home situations. Not not all because anybody was doing anything wrong. But because sometimes you had a single parent who was working two jobs take everybody. Sometimes you had a financial, some of those ones you mentioned at the beginning. And this was not a patent on pandemic, they had financial duress, there was scarcity. I remember taking kids out to eat pizza, which I was a college student still. And so I didn’t have much money, but I had more than them, which you know, that in and of itself was sad, you know that a family could be in America. And I would have more disposable income than the parents did, which I mean, they had to pay for a lot more than I had paid for. But the reason I bring this up is because sometimes I think it’s easy for two things to happen. One, for people to think that you’re going to get parents that are going to know how to create the perfect cultural environment for you going up and what I felt like I had really great parents, but I have dysfunctions. Some were chosen by me. You know, like they were they were my reactions, some were probably inherited from my parents as they inherited from their parents. And so when you said curiosity, I thought self awareness is important to that. One of the things that makes it hard for people to have conversations about mental health or anything else is we can sometimes fear self awareness, we can fear and knowing ourselves, and, and getting the truth about ourselves out both positive because I’ve talked to people who are so negative on themselves, I can’t even understand how they got that negative given who they are. And I’ve talked to people who are really, really positive about themselves. And I’m like, Well, you can overlook a couple of things here. And I’m more than really positive about myself overlooking things, as that’s where I grew up. But I think, and I guess I’m just making a comment that I think sometimes we have to step back and say, I may be that person who associates talking with punishment or trouble. And so my goal has got to be to learn how to talk, not necessarily to try to fix my parents or fix the coach or fix the person. Does that make sense? Is that the right way? Because I think sometimes people waste a lot of energy, saying, I’ve got to go back and talk to, you know, Christina, because Christina made me feel like I couldn’t communicate, as opposed to saying, okay, that’s, that’s where I’m coming from. But I need to get this out. I need to be able to talk. Does that seem right, that that should absolutely.

Liz Llamas 49:35
I mean, one of my favorite quotes of 2021 was Doug con it and he was the former CEO of Campbell’s Soup. He said your personal story is your leadership story, but you got to work on your story. And that was so inspiring to me because, you know, this, you know, during the pandemic, we have multiple losses, you know, I’m Hispanic my Family definitely falls into that category of compounded grief and loss. Yeah, but prior to that, you know, I’ve been I’d heard that quote, and I really started to work on my story, you know, doing some making those, you know, connecting those dots, going back and just doing it, making it inspiring, not making it, you know, this arduous task, but really, like, I want to start to really work on this. And I can’t tell you just doing that, I feel in some ways really prepared me for the, you know, impact of grief and loss. And so and he really talked about that he talked about, you know, one day he was walked into this office, he had this great job, and he was fired. And, and then of course, they connected him with HR who he liked cursed out and told them by I don’t want I don’t want your help, you know. But the career coach told him, he said, you know, you got to work on your story. It’s so clear, you haven’t worked on your story. Wow. Yeah. And so I just, I think that that was just a great reminder, but it really incentivized me to really start to work on that. And I think for people, you know, out there listening, just taking that time to work on their personal story. They say, you know, awareness is the path to healing. Yeah. So yeah, I totally agree with what

Russ Ewell 51:17
you’re one of the big influences on me was a good friend of mine, Howard Kuna, he’s a great teacher, his brother, who passed away some years ago, I went to Howard because his brother was one of the professors at Fresno State in counseling. And I said, I want to understand this connection between religion church and, and in, in therapy, because it, it seems, and this is actually before you and I list started talking, and you helped a lot in this area. But I said, I just I feel like, people are confusing me, because I’ve got people that they are religious, and they’re putting a religious overlay on to therapy, which, to me instinctively seems maybe not smart. And the reason I thought that and again, these are just my opinions is because when I went to, when I go to the doctor, there’s no need to put a religious overlay on, I need to have my tonsils out. Right like that. And I had those out when I was seven, there’s no need to, like, get a religious understanding of that, or a spiritual understanding of that, per se. And I think sometimes we treat emotional health differently than we treat physical health. And, and we, and we feel like we can get into motional health and start, you know, putting our own little personal touch on it. And I like to kind of I know, it’s considered a soft scientist by a lot of, you know, physics people, chemistry people, but I still think it’s a science. And the books I’ve read, people have been working, I know, you’ve worked a long time in the field lives and you work for a lot of years in the field, Christina, is that people have to respect that these are 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of observations and studies of people. They’re not just somebody who read a book, and went to school for for eight years and says, I’ve read a lot of books now I know they’re there. Like, I’m always shocked by how long it takes to get a license. Like, just so hard. And people think, you know, people tell me, I’m gonna be one of these kind of folks. I said, Well, you got to go to school, you know, all these years, and then you’re gonna have to work multiple years with someone just get a license, are you sure you’re ready to do that? And the reason I put that all out there is because I think we have to all be careful to say, we’re the support people, I’m talking about people like me, they said, We’re the support people. We’re the ones that need to learn to talk, people talk a lot about giving a safe space. I think that’s important. What I hear you saying is you have to also work on your story. Because if you don’t work on your story, there may never be a place that’s safe for you to talk because you don’t have your you don’t have your story together. And I know for me, I’ve got story that involves when I was young, racial issues, I’ve got stories that involve alcohol in in that story of growing up in in family life, and putting that together without bitterness, putting that together to have curiosity, understanding. And one of the things between my my dad, my dad, he suffered through Jim Crow. He went through a lot of tough stuff. And but I didn’t pay attention that when I was young, so I always saw his deficiencies. And then as I got older, and I actually paid attention to who he was, because he wasn’t very good at telling his story. He was quiet, unlike me. He let other people talk more. But I once I understood him. I remember I was at his funeral. I gave a talk. And I said that thing that made sense of my dad for me, was on a Father’s Day we had a conversation. And I asked him why he didn’t go back after he was in the he was in Korean War. Why he didn’t go back and play baseball because he’s a really good baseball player. And he was going to be a starting second baseman for Negro Baseball League, went to the military, but he never came back and played and when he told me that story, and I began to see how racism affected him. It changed my whole view of why he was quiet. It changed my whole view of why he didn’t parent me, like some other parents parents did. And It removed because I used to feel like I hate him. He doesn’t do anything for me. And then once I saw it, I was like, well, that’s, that’s actually not the truth about his story. And it’s not the truth about my story either, because I started to go back and go, Oh, yeah, he was the one who took me to movies, made my lunch did all these things for me, which I had somehow blacked out.

And so and so I think there’s, there’s so much to talking, listening to what you guys are talking about getting conversation going. And then if that goes on, that’s just healthy. And then there’s that other layer, which I think is important, which is the mental health. So I want to segue from that. Because I basically expressed that because what I was learning from you guys, to a couple of final questions. And one is, how does someone handle the person they believe has mental health concerns, but will not seek treatment? Because I hear that a lot that you know, that someone has shown substantial, I’m not talking about like, they’re anxious. They shown substantial evidence that there’s something wrong, but they refuse to talk about it. And I found an article, I think it was in the it’s gonna it’s called convincing the stubborn to accept mental health care, and there’ll be a link to it. And she talks about five phases of how to address that she started out saying, I used to tell people be persistent and consistent. And then she said, I realized that was a bad answer. And she was a psychology, I think, a clinical psychologist. And she said, first of all, phase one, for people who are stubborn to seek treatment is they’re unaware, they need someone to highlight the obvious, and said thoughts. A lot of people like that. They’ll be like, Oh, I didn’t even see it. Thank you, you know, let me go take care of this. But then phase two, if they’re not willing to have awareness is denial. What me? No way, there’s no way I’ve got it. Phase three is resistance. Okay, I’ve got it. But I don’t need professional help. Phase four is flakiness. She calls it I know, I need to take care of this. But I don’t feel like doing it right now. And I know I’ve talked to people who have meds that help them. But like I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I’m not going to take it and fight Phase Five, she kind of says you got to get through those four phases to get to acceptance, I guess I have to manage it the rest of my life, which of course, as you alluded to, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be on medication, or even going to therapy all the time. But it’s it’s part of who you are. And I’ve read that a lot from from a lot of experts that in fact, I related to Ron Kuna before, he said to me, he said rest there’s a couple things that are really important. I tell people awarenesses health. And if you’re aware you’re in that’s another way of saying well, you said earlier list. And he said I also tell them look, you have if you have anxiety, this anxiety will probably be with you your whole life. You the key is you have to just manage it, you have to learn how to manage it, it’s not going to limit you, it’s not going to control but the idea that you’re just going to eradicate it and never have anxiety in your life. He said everybody has anxiety, so you’re never going to completely eliminate it. You just learn how to manage it, it becomes part of who you are. What would be your advice? I it I’ll start with you, Christina. And then I’ll go to Liz, what would be your advice about how to help someone who doesn’t believe they need to seek treatment, even though it’s pretty obvious they do?

Christina Henderson 58:10
Yeah, I mean, I can just pull from my experience, even from my husband, having recently gotten diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. And, you know, it was something that I was like, There’s something there, like, we’ve been married for eight years, or I was like, There’s something more there. But you know, we would have many, many talks about, you know, I’ve done it wrong ways. And I’ve done it right way, I’ve done it wrong ways, in the sense of I’ve gotten angry and made it about myself, and you know, made

Russ Ewell 58:40
no, I would approach it. Yeah.

Christina Henderson 58:43
This is making my life more difficult. And so, you know, um, you know, sometimes we can approach people like that, you know, just come on, get it together, like I could have that attitude, and that never goes well. And, you know, I’m approach to other ways where I tried to draw out, help them make connections of, you know, hey, you get anxious here, what do you think else is going on? You know, what, like, or you’re getting, you know, angry here or you’re getting, you know, maybe really overwhelmed here, what what else, you know, what other things are going on. And so, you know, for us for in our situation, it took years, you know, to finally actually go to a therapist, get diagnosed all those things. Um, but my biggest I think advice is just walk with whoever it is, like, just be willing to be patient and walk with them. And, you know, always draw out the underneath parts of the why or, you know, the, the, the deeper parts than just, you know, their, their top emotions like anger, you know, we’re talking about earlier to be a top emotion. So, you know, those are this experiences.

Russ Ewell 59:49
That’s great. That’s great. This

Liz Llamas 59:51
Yeah, I think about I’m often when I’m meeting with students, I this is my speech. If you come see Miss Lizzie, you’re gonna go This speech I was telling, you get to decide the when you don’t get to decide if you don’t your stuff. And if you if you delete this, there are consequences to that maybe you’re going to get fired, maybe you’re not going to have, you know, the girlfriend, your girlfriend’s gonna break up with you or your partner’s gonna get sick of this, you know, you, you get that choice, the win, but you don’t get a choice of the if, um, and we talked about counting the cost of waiting, because even by the time people come into therapy, you know, I have folks who come in and they, they have two sessions, they’re like, you’re the best. And I’m like, No, I’m not what’s going on there. Like, I’m

Russ Ewell 1:00:43
strategy. Yeah, my life

Liz Llamas 1:00:46
changed. He changed my life, and I don’t need to come anywhere, you know, um, because there’s just such that pool to, um, you know, I think people want don’t want to feel like they’re not typical. Yeah, um, and just, you know, being in therapy doesn’t make you not typical, um, to your point, Ross, you talked about, you know, there are just certain things that just, you know, just impact our coping mechanisms, maybe we have higher anxiety, and those things just need to be dealt with. But I think giving people you know, those that that those choices, letting them know, you know, there, you can decide when but you know, there are going to be consequences to you waiting, and also asking them the question, you know, what is what does this mean to you? Like, what would it mean to you, if you did get diagnosed? Like, what does that mean? And really getting some understanding about what what kind of frame of mind are they thinking, that means for them, like, you know, it, like, like I talked about earlier, it means I’m crazy, it means, you know, I’m not good enough, that there’s something wrong with me. And maybe, you know, really exploring that a little bit more to find out the meaning behind that resistance, you know, so

Russ Ewell 1:01:57
I can talk to you guys about this. I appreciate you putting giving me a little extra time today, because I think it’s such an important topic. And we won’t be able to get into there will be an article that’s in the show notes called Mental Health Benefits of spiritual thinking. We won’t have time to talk about a lot, but I want to read for all of you. Lisa Miller is a clinical psychologist and director of spirituality mind body has to to Teachers College, Columbia University. And she teaches clinical psychology and his work with corporations and schools and faith based organizations, her new books, the awakened brain, the new science of spirituality, and our quest for an inspired life. And I want to read this, and I want to get a couple comments or a comment each from both of you about spirituality, and its ability, I will say to complement your your journey to deal with and, and manage emotional challenges. Dr. Miller conducts brain scans of people as your thinking spiritual thoughts, and analyzes large mental health studies. Her research has found that spirituality helps protect us from depression, and helps us become more resilient and make better decisions. Studies also show that these benefits typically occur regardless of what religion we are, or whether we’re religious at all. So spirituality has a tremendous impact. And as a compliment, what would be anything you’d share as far as not being afraid? Christina first, and then Liz, not being afraid to pursue some form of spirituality, as complement to, to your effort to manage and hopefully, control conquer, eliminate emotional challenges.

Christina Henderson 1:03:36
I wanted to share this scripture in Jeremiah 17, verse nine through 10. In the message, it says, The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I got searched the heart and examine the mind, I get to the heart of the human, I get to the root of things, I treat them as they really are not as they pretend to be. I think you know, the connection, you know, when you go to, you know, a therapist, or you’re trying to get to the root of what’s really there, and what’s you know, what’s going under, you know, we can pretend to be a certain way, we feel like the pressure to just, you know, fit in with society be a certain way. But I think with spirituality, it allows us to just be our real selves, and allows us and our real selves is acceptable. And that’s actually, you know, what, what God wants us to get to is, you know, just just examining ourselves and getting to the bottom of why do I function this way? Why do I think this way, and I think he can also change and help our perception to be more positive, more visionary than, you know, we can always be in our own mind. So you know, I would just say that

Russ Ewell 1:04:49
that’s great. This,

Liz Llamas 1:04:50
I think about when I think about spirituality, you know, there’s conversations around the eight dimensions of self care and you know, they Everybody’s models a little bit different. But I do think spirituality if we think about this more holistic approach, it certainly absolutely plays a role in that. But I think the main thing is just having a vision. I think when people, you know, think this is the end for them, you know, to, you know, see a therapist or maybe have a diagnosis, and that’s the end of my life versus this is the beginning of my life, the beginning of the next chapter. Yeah, um, you know, I think that that is going to be very inspiring for people, it can really reframe it for people, like, I’m going to have a vision about this, yes, I’m about then how God’s going to use this or the next chapter of my life. Um, and so I think it really plays an integral part in sustaining hope for folks and, and having a vision for what this is going to look like and what this means for them.

Russ Ewell 1:05:55
That sounds fantastic. We’ve been fortunate enough here on lead different to have a conversation about mental health, I hope all of our listeners will benefit from it. When it comes to the spirituality factor. One of the benefits of studying religion for a long time, which I did is that, really, I think there’s the physical body, there’s the intellectual the brain, intellectually, there’s the emotional, and then there’s the spiritual. And when you said, when they said, holistic, I believe in that. And you know that there are certain religions that are focused around God. And there are certain religions that are focused around a more just a philosophical thing. But one thing we have to open our minds to the idea that we want to have complete good health. One of my favorite people, is the musician and artist Bruce Springsteen. And he talks a lot about his journey. I’ve followed him for the last 20 years or so, personally, and he’s done a lot working out all kinds of different things he’s done to manage his emotional health because he saw what his father went through. And he didn’t want to do that, including he, his best friend said, The Amazing most amazing thing about this rock and roll star is he’s never used drugs, and restraints. He was like, the reason is because I was afraid that that would push me over into, you know, having episodes and having my emotional health get out of control. Lots of great people have emotional challenges. Winston Churchill was known for having what he called the blacks. Some people call that depression. Some people say it was other things, but he was very forthcoming about it. Abraham Lincoln, he went through tremendous grief. These are people who became extraordinarily Great. Now obviously, in today’s society, people will look at well, Lincoln was this. Churchill was that so I’m not getting a district debate about their value. I’m saying it can be done there people every day, who walk in offices who run companies who play sports, Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers been one of the more outspoken people. And I think we want to do in this conversation, everything we can to make you the listener think I’m not getting medical advice today, but I’m getting introduced to a conversation I need to have with my family with my friends, that it’s okay to need help. Thank you to Liz thank you to Christina, this has been really different. You able to find this podcast, show notes with a lot of information down there. Keep listening, share it with people tell them about it, because I think this can really help people. Listen, Christine, you are great. Thanks a lot.

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