Mental Health Awareness Month Panel

For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we’re interviewing 2 creators with unique insights into mental health. We usually keep our panels exclusive, Clapper Talks Radio experiences. But we had such a fantastic time with these creators and learned so much that we had to share! In this article, we’ll list all of the questions we asked and a quick snippet of each panelist’s answer. But first…

Let’s learn more about them!

@NisaaRobinson is a life and mindset coach, specializing in burn out. She works with therapists, counselors, coaches, and social workers, helping them overcome burn out so they can continue doing their unspeakably important work. Nisaa also helps people change their mindset and conquer the walls they may have built for themselves. You may remember her from our Clapper Talks on May 18th!

@OG_PAPAW is a shaman and reiki master. He served in the military and was able to harness meditation and breathwork to manage and overcome his anxiety, depression, and PTSD. His channel is all about positivity and mindfulness, helping his followers find little pockets of their day to center themselves. If you like Papaw as much as we do, you can tune back in on May 31st at 5pm CST to see him lead the Clapper team through a meditation.

Keep reading this Deep Dive to follow these creators’ inspiring stories. Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @ClapperCreator account to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live radio show: Clapper Talks.

What does mental health or mental wellness mean to you?

Nisaa: Mental wellness for me, means to bring your mind, your will, your emotions, and your spirit into alignment with your visions, your values, and your goals. Everything about you and everything about your existence matters. And it matters to any other area of our life. So mental wellness is to be whole, to have integrity, and to be in alignment with your vision, your values, and your goals.

Papaw: It’s learning who you are, what you are, what you’re about, and learning to deal with the stressors and things that come up during the day. For me, a lot of that is tied through the breath and through meditation and being mindful of your day and in the present moment. Which is the only moment we truly have anyway. It’s going to very much mirror what Nisaa said.

We all know that there’s a connection between social media and mental health. Are there ways in which you think social media can help with mental health?

Papaw: It can be both beneficial and detrimental, it all depends on you. Beneficial is you’ve got a space where you can go and you’re allowed to vent whatever it is you’re going through. I think that has tremendous benefits for someone who is going through a crisis situation. But there’s also a lot of negativity that can come through, and if it you take that on personally then that can be the bad part. But what someone else thinks of us doesn’t matter: its what we think of ourselves that matters.

Nisaa: People are people, and they are flawed wherever you find them. That includes social media platforms. You’re going to find safe spaces and you’re going to find the contrary. If we have the proper supports, mindsets, and some of the answers to the questions Papaw asked earlier, then we can a shield to protect ourselves. So you can filter things off, get some reality checks, and bring yourself back to center

What motivates you to continue your practice?

Nisaa: There’s nothing like walking with someone and journeying with them through the process of transformation. And being someone who has experienced transformation on several different levels, I have a way of believing that growth and change is possible. There is hope for every single soul to live out the purpose they were created for. I believe my purpose in life is to love and to serve. That looks different depending on where I am; I don’t get to decide what kind of utensil I am, I get to decide if I’m going to show up and be used at the banquet. And I need you to live out your purpose, because it matters.

Papaw: For me, I feel like there’s so many people wandering around lost, living that reactive lifestyle and not realizing who they are. And that we are cocreators in this world with everybody. We have the ability to create our world through the things we do and say. And teaching people how to do that is my goal. I want people to know who they truly are, that they truly are a portion of God. God is the ocean, the ocean crashes against the rocks and creates mists and drops; we are those drops. Even if we’re separate for the moment, we’ll fall back into God again.

If someone is just starting their mental health recovery or mental wellness journey and something you’ve said resonates with them, what do you suggest they do? What first step should they take?

Papaw: For me, it’s a little different. If you’re dealing with mental health, the first thing I’m going to ask is when you started dealing with whatever issues it is. And is there something that happened at that point and time that you’ve not dealt with yet? That’s where we go in shamanism and a lot of times they don’t even know. A lot of times it comes from childhood trauma that they’ve shoved down and can’t find. That’s where we journey back into your childhood, find that child, and bring them back out with you. That’s what I’d do to help someone begin on their journey is find out where it all started at.

Nisaa: My aim is to help individuals deal with the greatest issue that humanity faces (in my viewpoint) which is a distorted belief system. And we end up with a distorted belief system as a result of programing, conditioning, what have you. This isn’t that folks were always being malicious in our environment, but all of us are conditioned and we then impact other people. Then they form beliefs that are not even their own beliefs and they don’t know they have these beliefs. But they’re driving everything they think, say, or do. Based on the assessment, I’d look to see which modality is a best fit for the individual, as far as the direction we go. And no matter what role I’m in I ask clients, what do you really want? Once we identify what you want, we ask if what you’re doing is going to help you get what you want. Then we develop a plan.

For Nisaa

When you’re sitting down with a client and they’re in the beginning stages of burn out, how do you differentiate between burn out and depression? They seem very similar, so how can you tell them apart?

Individuals who are more susceptible to having a depression diagnosis are going to be more susceptible to experiencing burn out. They can influence each other, but there are some differences. And there are certain criteria that has to be met in order for a person to have a diagnosis of depression made. I believe that on some level, every person experiences some form of depression: the individual experience burn out may be depressed. It doesn’t mean that they meet criteria to have a depression diagnosis. That’s where we’d make the distinction: do they meet the criteria for a diagnosis, are they experiencing an emotional state and mood of depression, and are they experiencing burn out? And are all of these things true at the same time.

As a counselors, people talk about their problems on a daily basis. Do you feel like therapist should have their own therapists as well? To help maintain their mental health?

So as a general, yes. However, I need to insert a caveat! Whether or not you see a therapist on going and for significant periods of time, I have opinions about. First thing I want to know when we’re talking about working together is how are we going to know when you no longer need me? What is the goal, what is the need, what are the steps we’re going to take together, what are the steps you’re going to take? At what point are we going to say we’ve hit the mark? Now when we move from there and we’re working on something else, then awesome. But if you’re meeting with a therapist for extended periods of time and you’re not identifying progress along the way, then we need to have a conversation.

For Papaw

How has meditation or reiki work helped your mental health?

For me it came down to the realization that anxiety and depression are reactions to emotions. Basically when you have an emotion, your body is triggered into creating chemicals that cause those states. Learning what those triggers are is key to balancing that. And training your body to react to those stressors, those triggers differently, which we can do through mediation and breathwork. Once we realize those triggers and start to breathe properly, we can bring ourselves into the present moment and focus on what’s happening right now.

What are some common misconceptions you hear about meditation and reiki?

That you have to be silent. That you have to be silent and shut your mind off from your thoughts. It’s impossible! The whole purpose of meditation is to bring you into the present moment. The present moment is the only moment we have the power to do anything. The past is already gone, the future is yet to come, so this present moment is all that you have. And getting to that moment is the most important. So when you’re meditating and you’re going into a mindfulness breath and focusing on the way you breathe, on things going on that you can here. But when your mind does drift (and it will) come back to the present moment and breathe and start noticing all those things again. The whole idea of meditation is to be coming to the present moment. That is the biggest misconception I hear people saying.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know these creators – and got some insight into your own mental health struggles! To learn more, check out @NisaaRobinson and @OG_PAPAW on Clapper.