Here on Lemon Pepper Wet, we constantly talk about Mental Health and it’s importance. For our last episode of Mental Health Awareness Month, we reached out to an actual psychologist, Doneisha Burke, who gave us a few pointers on how to normalize the conversation surrounding Mental Health at home. Read, take notes, and put these tips into practice!
Establishing a framework of being able to express our feelings/emotions is really the foundation of how we start developing an understanding of mental health. But how do we start the conversation?
1. Begin discussing and helping kids identify from a young age different range of emotions. For example this is happy, this is sad, this is scared, this is excited... once they can identify that, then it sets a framework for loved ones to ask 'how do you feel?' Which brings me to the second point...
2. 'How do YOU feel?' Everyone has feelings; the good, the bad, the in between; if a person knows that different emotions exist and that some one cares to know how they are feeling then the stage for 'the conversation' has been set.
3. 'Oh you care??'... knowing that someone has a vested interest in our wellbeing is the beginning of putting one at ease for sharing, and that's exactly what any conversation about mental health will need, feeling comfortable. Just knowing that someone cares is critical when starting any convo about mental health.
4. 'Speak up!' Whatever side of the coin you may be on whether it be the person experiencing something or the one who senses something, it's important to open our mouths, it's the only way to 'get the conversation started'. So if you notice a friend or family member may be going through something it's ok to ask 'hey yuh good' 'how are you feeling?'. Likewise if you are experiencing something and have a trusted other to open up to, go ahead, do that. And, it is true, not everyone will feel comfortable speaking with friends or family and that's ok, professional help is perfectly acceptable! Bottomline we must all use our voices!
Now, go get that convo started!
Doneisha Burke, Associate Clinical Psychologist and University Lecturer.
Outside of work, she can be spotted working as an unpaid paparazzi amongst her friends and family. She enjoys her wings in the same flavor as her personality, spicy with a touch of sweet if possible.