Y'all might know (that's right, y'all-- Indiana roots!) that I am the Official Psychiatrist for the Mental Fitness is Sexy campaign. Well, this past Saturday, I had the incredible experience of being the keynote speaker for the official launch. Founded by Kela Price, my childhood friend, the campaign aims to end the stigma associated with mental illness and challenges everyone to focus on mental fitness as much as we focus on physical fitness. Kela welcomed the crowd with a heart-stirring personal account of her experience with post-partum anxiety -- and how she was able to escape "Isolation Island" -- a term she coined to depict the isolation that stigma can create for people experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental symptoms. I followed her welcome with a talk on What Mental Fitness Is Not. And here's a shameless plug -- if you want to know more about What Mental Fitness Is Not, tune in to this week's webinar on 10/24/2014. You can find details at www.mentalfitenessissexy.com We'll also talk a lot about what Mental Fitness IS.
So, back to the conference. After the keynote address, we had an incredible panel of individuals with professional and personal expertise moderated by none other than the great Glendal Jones. Because we all unintentionally dressed alike in blazers with our mental fitness t-shirts, we coined ourselves the Mental Fitness Mob. We are kicking stigma's butt and taking names! Corey McDaniel, the Mob's Food Architect, schooled us on the importance of being hydrated and eating healthy as it relates to our Mental Fitness. Nathan McGuire, the ying of the Mob's dynamic therapist duo, undermined the power of fear and anxiety, and gave tangible tips for how model the behavior we want to see in others and encouraged us to teach our young boys how to express emotion. Grace Laython, the yang of the Mob's therapist duo, led us in a breathing exercise aimed to reduce anxiety and blood pressure and helped a participant who was struggling to convince a family member to see a professional . Dr. Susan Benson, the Mob's OB-GYN and women's health specialist, educated us on the risks, signs, symptoms and strategies we can use to prevent post-partum anxiety and depression. The crowd asked excellent questions, and shared themselves with us and each other in a way that was just amazing. After a break, during which we ate the MOST delicious healthy snacks including turkey wraps (with golden apple hiding inside, heavenly!), split pea soup with lump crab and other delights, Trina Morris, the Mob's yoga master extraordinaire, led us in chair yoga and guided meditation.
The impact was palpable. The energy from the launch is still pulsing through my veins. And we are ready to spread this movement statewide, regional, national and beyond! I cannot express how gratifying it is to see people kicking stigma to the curb and grabbing mental fitness by the horns. I hope you will join the movement towards your better self.
If you haven't already, click the banner below to go to the website and take the pledge.