My Journey with Mental Health
It’s Mental Health Awareness month. And of course, we have some amazing partner brands that support access to mental health with every purchase you make (they’re below). And there are other incredible resources to help with your mental health (also below). And with mental health issues, it’s also really important to normalize talking about mental health care, which helps encourage more people to access it. I (Cullen) try to talk about mental health and self care with my team a lot, so they suggested that I might share some of my personal experiences here.
Before starting DoneGood, I worked for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. One of her major achievements while I was on her team was getting bipartisan legislation enacted to establish federal community mental health centers and expand access to quality mental health care across the country.
But for all the work I’d done around that bill and related mental health issues, for most of my life I wasn’t really caring for my own mental health. But in early 2021, I was feeling really stressed out. Working long hours to keep DoneGood alive, feeling the weight of working to keep our team employed, getting investors a return, trying to grow so we could make more of the positive impact we set out to achieve. And when the company is more than a company and also THE thing you really believe in and want to work on—the pressure was even greater. Rest and self care seemed like shirking responsibility. Top that with personal stress and relationship issues and it was a lot all at once. I decided to start seeing a counselor.
Now I wish I hadn’t waited so long to start. Weekly sessions give me a chance to reflect on the week’s stressors, the kind of person I want to be, and have helped me feel a greater sense of peace and happiness. And I think I’m both more productive AND better at resting and taking care of myself.
It has been AMAZING to see how much attitudes on mental health care have changed in just the last few years. Studies are showing increases in people’s willingness to talk about mental health, Simone Biles and other celebrities are shining an international spotlight on mental health care, TikTok videos have become a forum where young people discuss mental health issues as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with talking about them—because there’s not.
The best way to continue the progress on normalizing mental health care is for people to talk about it. So, I try to do my small part with that by talking with family and friends. And I guess now with blog friends like you. 😊
Thanks so much for all the good you do in the world all time—including looking out for friends’ and family members’ mental and emotional well-being.
-Cullen, Chief of Good Thoughts (aka founder and CEO) of DoneGood
Resources for Mental Health
- PsychologyToday.com is a great tool for finding a therapist/counselor. You can search by location, insurance policies the therapist accepts (more and more health insurance plans are offering low copays), whether video or personal appointments are available (I love video appointments—no commute time!), and by specialty.
- Then it’s all about finding a counselor you click with. Reach out and schedule a consultation call (most therapists will do a free 15 minute call). If that call feels good, schedule the first session and you’re on your way.
- There are also apps popping up like BetterHelp, Cerebral, and Talk Space that allow you to talk or text with a therapist and gain access to other mental health tools (I have not used these so can’t vouch, but they seem to be getting more popular).
- The National Association of Mental Health (NAMI) also has some great resources
- If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US at 1-800-273-8255 or Canada at 1-833-456-4566. Both are 24/7 and free.
Items that Support Mental Health
Conscious Step already makes ultra cozy, ultra ethical socks, sweatshirts, and even candles! But with their products that support mental health, they also give back with every purchase to the non-profit NAMI to provide advocacy, education, support, and public awareness to those affected by mental illness.
Fountain House + Body is a social enterprise of Fountain House, a non-profit that works with individuals with mental illness in NYC. Fountain House + Body serves that mission by empowering these individuals with fair, consistent employment crafting sustainable and low-waste personal care and cleaning products.
Savhera fairly employs women who are survivors of sex trafficking in India and these women go on to help craft high quality, organic essential oils and accessories. Savhera walks with these women as they move from survivors to thrivers, concentrating on a holistic model of health that includes caring for their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.